Pearson Airport to implement 'hard limit' on number of flights allowed during peak times
People wait in line to check in at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Thursday, May 12, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Published Monday, February 27, 2023 7:16PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 28, 2023 5:32PM EST
Canada’s largest airport authority said Monday it will place a “hard limit” on the number of commercial flights permitted to arrive or depart from Toronto Pearson Airport during upcoming peak travel times.
In a statement issued to CTV News Toronto Monday, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) said that during March break and the upcoming summer season, it's taking “decisive measures” to flatten peak-hour schedules. These measures include limiting the number of commercial flights that can arrive or depart in any given hour and capping the number of passengers that can arrive internationally or depart to the U.S. through each terminal in any given hour.
The airlines operating out of Pearson say they will not have to cancel flights for March Break or the summer season because they have already accounted for GTAA caps on flights and travellers during peak times.
Last year, Toronto Pearson Airport, alongside the airlines that operate out of YYZ, experienced a number of operational challenges starting in spring and continuing into the summer months that resulted in unprecedented delays, a significant amount of lost baggage, and a slew of cancellations.
In July 2022, the airlines operating out of the airport were ranked the worst in the world for delays by FlightAware, and, two months later, the airport was ranked fourth-worst major airport in the world for overall satisfaction by a J.P. Power survey.
Six months later, in December, the airport once again came under fire after a “baggage backlog” caused by weather-related flight disruptions, airline staffing issues, as well as frozen loading equipment saw hundreds of travellers separated from their luggage. Images from Pearson airport in December showed hundreds of bags piled up after a major winter storm caused days of flight delays and cancellations.
Heading into another stretch of peak travel times, the authority says the new limits placed on flights are meant to “strike a balance between airline commercial interests and the capabilities of the entities across the entire airport ecosystem [...] to deliver successfully on travel demand.”
In addition to limiting the number of flights in and out of the Toronto area, the GTAA said it's contracted an outside firm to do “a baggage system health check” and is looking to increase its storage of baggage parts to avoid reliance on the global supply chain.
The airport will also be utilizing artificial intelligence in an effort to keep operations streamlined.
“We are working to install technology that recognizes what’s happening at all gates and sends alerts to the relevant stakeholders (ground handlers, baggage, etc),” spokesperson Tori Gass told CTV News Toronto. The system is meant to reduce delays and “optimize the time planes spend at the gates.”
Last week, Air Canada announced that customers on select flights out of Pearson Airport would soon be able to utilize facial recognition technology for a more "seamless and efficient" boarding experience.