- The number of international flights delayed on arrival at Toronto Pearson International Airport has grown by 275 times since April 2019.
- The head of the Canadian Airports Council, on the other hand, says that a shortage of employees is the most significant hurdle to airport bottlenecks.
- Several airports and also the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority advise passengers to arrive well ahead of departure.
Compared to April 2019, the frequency of international flights detained on arrival at Toronto Pearson International Airport increased by 275 times.
According to the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, 2,204 planes from other countries landed on the tarmac in April, compared to just eight in the same month before the COVID-19 outbreak.
Airport wait times have risen as travelers fill the skies following two years of pent-up demand due to staffing shortages at security and customs checkpoints, as well as public-health regulations.
Tarmac delays have frequently resulted in staggered dumping of passengers from a particular plane on landing in the last month, easing the stress on overburdened terminals. Meanwhile, leaving travelers may face long security lines and reports of missed aircraft on social media, with scenes of long security lines and accounts of missed flights.
Approximately 18,000 inbound international passengers at Pearson were kept on board for more than 30 minutes and 3,000 for more than 75 minutes in the second week of May alone.
In an email, authority spokesperson Ryan White stated, “We require the govt to implement remedies as the summer season has an anticipated rise of over 50% in international passengers.”
“Passengers would face even more congestion and longer waits for onboard planes if the government did not intervene to decrease screening and border processing times – a situation that is already unacceptable.”
The authority, which runs the country’s busiest airport, wants the federal government to eliminate public-health regulations like random testing upon arrival and invest in staffing and technology to speed up passenger clearing delays.
Omar Alghabra, the Transport Minister, and Marco Mendicino, the Public Safety Minister, recognized delays ranging beyond security screening to luggage handling in a joint statement, stressing that the situation is not specific to Canada.
To solve the backlog at security checkpoints, Transport Canada has formed an “outbound screening group” made up of government agencies as well as industry players.
According to the ministers, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, which oversees airport security screening, plans to increase the number of screening officers by 400 people in various stages of training by the end of June.
“CATSA is extremely near to recruiting 100% of its target numbers of screening officers for the summer in numerous airports, including Toronto Pearson International Airport and Vancouver International Airport,” according to the agency’s statement.
“While there is still further to be done, such efforts are paying off in the form of shorter screening wait times.”
The amount of travelers waiting more than 30 minutes for outbound screening at Canada’s four main airports — Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Calgary – has been cut in half since May 1, according to the ministers.
Other factors for clogged checkpoints, according to Alghabra, include out-of-practice travelers and increased last-minute bookings by passengers wary of sudden public health measures, which puts a wrench in staff scheduling.
The head of the Canadian Airports Council, on the other hand, claims that the number one barrier to airport bottlenecks is a lack of staff.
Monette Pasher stated earlier this month, “The problem here – the key aspect – is labor and being able to staff those peaks and be agile enough to make it work.”
According to council predictions, domestic airline ticket capacity for May will be 85 percent of 2019 levels, with 78 percent for domestic, US, and international. The council anticipates that the latter figure will reach 90% in July.
Passengers are urged to arrive well in advance of departure by several airports and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. Vancouver International Airport asks people to arrive three hours ahead of time.
Source: Global News