Pearson Airport creates new infographic to help travellers navigate system

“While we may be open, we are far from recovered”: GTAA statement on Pearson delays

TORONTO — The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) has issued a statement on the departures and arrivals delays at Toronto Pearson Airport, amid travel’s restart and unprecedented demand.

In recent days security lineups in particular have ratcheted up, prompting increasing frustration from passengers. A similar situation has played out at Vancouver International Airport.

Earlier this week Mike Saunders, the CEO of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), issued an apology, noting that the federal Crown corporation is “aggressively working to address the situation.” Saunders said the long lineups are due mainly to staff shortages.

The GTAA manages and operates Toronto Pearson. In a statement issued today, the GTAA says it is “extremely proud of the way that our entire employee community has shown up throughout the pandemic; however we also are acutely aware of the extreme wait times that passengers are facing within Toronto Pearson.”

Wait times for departing passengers at security screening points are being negatively impacted by staffing challenges at CATSA, says the GTAA. U.S.-bound travellers are impacted both by CATSA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) staffing shortages.

Plus, international arriving passengers are facing bottlenecks and very lengthy delays in border processing. The GTAA puts the blame for those delays with legacy public health requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To prevent severe passenger congestion, airport and airline staff are forced to hold passengers on planes and deliberately meter the flow of arriving travellers into the customs hall for processing by CBSA, a process that we know and appreciate is incredibly frustrating for passengers,” says the GTAA.

“Airports have been ringing the proverbial alarm bells about the comparative lack of investment in the sector, critical projects that had to be deferred, layoffs of specialized labour and the resulting labour shortage, as well as the financial challenges still faced as a result of the pandemic.”

The GTAA says it is urgently calling on the federal government to….

  • Streamline or eliminate inbound legacy public health requirements at Canada’s airports, and in doing, help to alleviate bottlenecks for international arriving passengers;
  • Eliminate random testing upon arrival from Canada’s airports and look to effective and proven options such as community wastewater testing;
  • Invest in the necessary government agency staffing and technology to achieve globally competitive service level standards; and
  • Engage with the U.S. Government to ensure staffing and capacity at preclearance sites return to pre-pandemic levels

Says the GTAA: “While we may be open, we are far from recovered. Recognizing aviation’s importance to the national economy and global perceptions of Canada, we need the government’s immediate help to support the air sector recovery so we can once again proudly welcome the world. Our goal at the GTAA is to provide a safe, healthy, seamless experience for everyone passing through Toronto Pearson and to offer air passengers in Canada the world-class travel experience they deserve and expect.”

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