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Pearson airport says 10,000 new hires, better technology have improved service

July 20, 2023  By Nairah Ahmed, The Canadian Press

(Photo: JHVEPhoto, Adobe Stock)

Toronto’s Pearson airport says a staffing boost has significantly improved service, and issues that sparked chaos at Canada’s largest airport last summer have been addressed.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) says the 10,000 new employees hired since last summer have helped increase baggage system reliability, cut wait times at security and customs checkpoints, and decreased holds on board aircraft — all by more than 90 per cent since last year.

GTAA president Deborah Flint says “new investments we made in staffing” have elevated Pearson’s performance.

The travel surge that occurred last summer as pandemic restrictions eased led to overflowing baggage halls, stranded passengers and tens of thousands of flight cancellations, along with many passengers being held on the tarmac waiting on board aircraft.


Flint says that in addition to hiring more staff, improved digital operations had also improved passenger experience.

Waiting outside airport arrivals with her two young kids, Irene Nnorom, 43, said her trip through Pearson from Dublin, Ireland was straightforward.

“Compared to before with the whole long lineups, it was really smooth — I was only in line for five to ten minutes,” Nnorom said.

Despite indications that service has improved, passengers at Pearson have continued to face frustrations.

Over the Canada Day long weekend, there were snaking lines and bulging terminals at the airport. More than 52 per cent of Air Canada flights were cancelled or delayed that weekend, according to figures from tracking service FlightAware.

Air Canada pointed out that the air travel sector is in its summer peak with 140,000-plus customers boarding the airline’s planes daily. Experts note crowded flight schedules and crew shortages play a role in peak season.

“The most important implication of (Pearson’s summer) update is that airlines cannot continue their practice of always blaming the airport for things that go wrong,” Gabor Lukacs, president of advocacy group Air Passenger Rights, said.

“It was the airlines’ responsibility to ensure that they are not scheduling more flights than the (airport) infrastructure can handle.”

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2021


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