Toronto’s Pearson International Airport is launching a new digital tool aimed at helping passengers navigate through the current strained air transportation system.
The interactive infographic — available on the airport’s website — will provide passengers with information on every step of their journey, from check-in and security to customs and baggage pickup. Passengers will be able to click on links to learn about which industry partner (airport, government agency, or airline) is responsible for each step, and what each partner is doing to try to fix the delays and backlogs plaguing the system right now.
Deborah Flint, president and CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, said the aim is to help reduce passenger anxiety about what to expect when they travel.
“Being an informed passenger, even if they are getting bad news, is going to make them feel more capable,” Flint said. “They’ll have a better experience.”
Airlines and airports have been struggling to cope with the massive travel resurgence this summer in the wake of the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. Staffing issues at carriers and federal agencies have cascaded into flight cancellations, baggage delays and endless queues.
As Canada’s largest airport hub, Pearson has been most affected by the problems. On some days, the airport has seen more than half of its flight departures delayed.
Flint said the situation is gradually improving, with the amount of time that arriving international travellers can expect to wait on their plane before deboarding dropping from an average of 33 minutes in April to just over 16 minutes in the last week of June.
But while additional staff have already been hired by the federal agencies responsible for security screening and customs, Flint said more are still needed, particularly during peak times.
“We need to keep the pressure on all parties to continue to bring stability to the system,” she said. “We are very forward looking, but right now we know the summer will continue to be challenged.”
Flint said Pearson also plans to launch an online dashboard that will publish live wait times for areas such as check-in and security clearance, so that passengers will know how long they should expect to wait before they ever arrive at the airport.