Los Angeles International Airport officials marked the 50th anniversary of a historic moment for air cargo operations at the airport March 12.
Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners Vice President Valeria Velasco; Todd Owen, U.S. Customs and Border Protection director of field operations; and Joyce Sokoloski, Orange County Board of Supervisors chief of protocol attended a ceremony recognizing Guy Fox, who, 50 years earlier, filed the first free and dutiable customs entries at LAX. Fox was commended at the Flight Path Learning Center and Museum for his “tireless dedication over the past 50 years to building bridges through trade and selfless volunteer contributions.”
Prior to March 1962, all customs entries had to be filed at an office in downtown Los Angeles, airport officials noted. It took two to three days to get the entries back for release of these goods, which was too long for perishable items. To expedite the process, U.S. Customs opened a facility at LAX, officials explained.
Fox, current chairman of the District Export Council of Southern California and president of an international trade consulting firm, recalled how he became the person to file the very first entry at LAX.
“I came to LAX on Saturday, March 10, 1962, to pick up the blank documents I needed to submit,” he said. “I then went back to my office and prepared the forms that would become the first free and dutiable customs entries at LAX.”
Fox recalled that on March 12, 1962, he began waiting in line at the airport at 5 a.m. for the new customs facility to open at 8 a.m. and when 8 a.m. arrived, he was still the only person in line. A customs representative captured the only photograph that records that event.
The first dutiable customs entry received was fabric from France valued at $286, as at that time a formal entry had to be filed on goods valued in excess of $250. The free entry was a broken aircraft windshield made in America and returned for repair from Canada.