space traveling warriors tier list : ‘Chaos’ at Toronto’s Pearson Airport could continue through late August, says former Air Canada exec

Extremely long wait times affecting passengers arriving and departing at Toronto’s Pearson Airport are likely to continue through Labor Day, a former Air Canada executive said Wednesday.

“Chaos, messy, impossible, difficult” were the words used by Duncan Dee to describe the situation at Canada’s busiest airport.

“It’s not where you want to be,” Dee told CBC Radio’s Metro Morning.

Over the past two months, Pearson travelers have faced long lines, delays and cancellations, which some blame for ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and labor shortages.

Dee says that while Canada’s Transport Minister Omar Alghabra has promised 400 new sorters by the end of June, he doubts it will make a big difference.

“In terms of customs delays, until the pandemic-era inspections are changed, I hate to think that this is something that will plague us all summer,” Dee said.

“Things should get a little easier for those traveling after Labor Day. Unfortunately, that’s also when schools return so families can’t travel as much.”

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On Wednesday, Alghabra announced on Twitter that the Canadian Air Transport Safety Authority has now hired more than 850 new agents across Canada.

“This will help you get through security faster and on your way to your destination,” he wrote in the tweet. “We will continue to work to reduce waiting times at airports.”

‘The greatest misfortune known to man’

The delays at Pearson gained additional attention this week after former professional hockey player Ryan Whitney took to social media on Monday to share his frustration after Air Canada canceled flights and reportedly had minimal ground personnel to assist passengers. affected.

“This is the worst airport in the world, I’m telling you there is no other airport like it,” Whitney said in a video posted to Twitter.

“I’m so shocked by this place, it’s the greatest disgrace known to man.”

Concerns that travelers will avoid Canada

Meanwhile, Toronto business leaders held a press conference last month, during which they urged Ottawa to end Pearson’s hourly delays.

They warned during this press conference that passengers would share their experiences with the rest of the world and this could negatively affect arrivals in the medium and long term.

“My concern is that this bad first impression will keep people from returning to Canada or that stories of bad experiences here at the Toronto airport will force travelers to consider other locations and destinations,” said Edwin Frizzell, general manager, Fairmont Royal York, in Collective interview. that press conference.

Another business leader, Jan De Silva, president and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade, said: “International passengers are being forced to wait up to three hours, sometimes inside the aircraft they have flown, due to longer processing times of customs officials.”

Edwin Frizzell, general manager of Fairmont Royal York, expressed concern in May that Pearson Airport’s poor first impression will prevent people from returning to Canada. (CBC)

Dee says dropping COVID-19 screening “will certainly help solve arrival issues” at Pearson.

“Right now, according to airports, it’s taking four times longer for each traveler to be processed through customs, so if you remove these pandemic-era inspections, you’ll immediately see a four-fold reduction in the time it takes to process those passengers – so 30 to maybe 60 seconds per passenger instead of two to three minutes per passenger. That’s a huge, huge savings right there,” he said.

“On the safety side, crew members, your flight attendants and pilots are inspected as if they were a traveler just off the street, so stop it. This is something that other countries don’t even do, but in Canada, we ‘ We’ve decided that, for some reason, individuals who fly the aircraft that all passengers rely on for their lives need to be inspected and need to have their fluids checked every time they pass through the airport,” Dee added.

In May, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority also asked Ottawa to urgently do the following to help alleviate the situation at Pearson Airport. Among his recommendations:

  • Simplify or eliminate legacy public health requirements for entry into Canada’s airports.
  • Eliminate random testing on arrival from Canadian airports and look for options like community wastewater testing.
  • Invest in government agency human resources and technology to achieve globally competitive service level standards.
  • Engage with the US government to ensure staff and capacity at pre-authorization sites return to pre-pandemic levels.
In May, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority also urged Ottawa to take urgent action to help alleviate the situation at Pearson Airport. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

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