Delay data from Canada’s airports shows gains; Heathrow announces more flight cancellations

Delay data from Canada’s airports shows gains; Heathrow announces more flight cancellations

TORONTO — The latest data from the federal government suggests that the delays facing passengers travelling through Canada’s biggest airports are improving somewhat in the wake of higher staffing levels and others measures.

For the week June 27 – July 3, Canada’s airports continued to see about 80% of passengers screened by CATSA within 15 minutes, despite higher passenger numbers, according to a statement from Transport Minister Omar Alghabra and others.

Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport and Vancouver International Airport maintained the gains made since the beginning of May, with 79%, 90% and 85% of passengers screened within 15 minutes, respectively.

At Montreal Trudeau International Airport, about 70% of passengers were screened within 15 minutes.

Minister Alghabra met with Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau on July 4, and toured the company’s Systems Operation Control Centre on July 7. Later that day, the Minister, accompanied by WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech, visited WestJet’s operation centre at Pearson’s Terminal 3.

On Friday WestJet sent out new metrics showing its completion factor week to date as 99.1% (and since Friday, July 1: 98%).

The massive Rogers outage on Friday didn’t help matters at airports and entry points across Canada, as many travellers couldn’t complete their ArriveCAN forms online or through the ArriveCAN app.

 

HEATHROW’S CHALLENGES

Canada’s airports, while taking dubious honours for first place in delays in recent days, aren’t the only ones seeing congestion and chaos as travel restarts.

Many more airports worldwide are experiencing long lineups and delays, not least of which is London’s Heathrow Airport.

Heathrow has already seen mass flight cancellations in recent weeks, with more – at least 61 – announced today.

Many of the problems plaguing Heathrow will be familiar to Pearson passengers, including long lines for security and luggage going missing or arriving late.

In its latest communication, issued today, Heathrow apologized to passengers whose travels were disrupted by staff shortages. It also warned it may ask airlines to cut more flights from their summer schedules to reduce the strain if the chaos persists.

“We want to apologize to any passengers who have been affected by this,” the airport said in a monthly traffic update.

At Heathrow, unclaimed luggage has piled up in arrivals because of a technical glitch in the baggage system.

Compounding the problem, Heathrow said the punctuality of arriving flights is “very low” because of delays at other airports and airspace congestion across Europe.

Heathrow said it started recruiting in November in anticipation of this summer’s recovery in travel demand and expects security staffing will be back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of July. It also has reopened Terminal 4 to give passengers more space.

U.K. airlines have been slashing their summer flight schedules after authorities ordered them to ensure they can operate without disruption over the summer. British Airways has cut 11% of its flights between April and October to avoid canceling flights on the day of departure.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said the airport will review the airlines’ proposed cuts “and will ask them to take further action if necessary.”

With file from The Canadian Press