Toronto Pearson International Airport re-opened its second busiest runway Monday morning following an eight-month rehabilitation project. 

“As the busiest airport in Canada and one of the busiest in North America, the return of this runway at Pearson Airport will keep air passengers moving safely and smoothly in and out of the GTA,” Canada’s Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in a news release.

And just in time for the holiday season too.

A spokesperson for the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) tells CTV News Toronto the holidays tend to be “very busy”, especially for families.

Throughout the summer, Pearson travellers were met with hours-long flight delays, long lines, or missing suitcases. Outside of once being named the world’s worst airport for delays, Pearson ranked among the five worst airports in the continent for overall customer satisfaction in September.

Since then, the GTAA says it has worked with airlines and government partners to “improve the travel experience.”

“We’ve seen great improvements since [the] summer given the coordinated work of Pearson and airport partners to smooth the passenger experience,” Tori Gass of the GTAA said in an emailed statement.

“This work is ongoing and we expect the improvements to continue over the holiday travel period.”

Some of that work, according to Gass, includes working with the airlines ahead of time to make sure “they balance their activity with their resources.”


Anyone who is jetting away for the holidays is advised to give themselves extra time and arrive early at the airport.

Gass recommends those flying domestically to come two hours before their flight leaves, while international travellers are suggested to arrive three hours ahead of time.

According to Gass, there are a few websites and apps Pearson passengers can use in hopes of making their travel day run smoothly.

To book a spot in the security line, travellers can go online to YYZ Express first to reserve their screening time. Fliers can also see all of the airport wait times throughout Pearson from check-in to customs on the wait time dashboard.

Travellers who are looking to book a flight when it's not busy can look at Pearson’s peak travel times to get an idea of what hours aren’t the busiest, as it's based on historical travel data at the Toronto airport.

If your travels are taking you south of the border to the United States, fliers can download the Mobile Passport Control app backed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Eligible travellers can submit their passport information online and fill out their customs declaration form before crossing the border.

There is also the advance declaration feature in the ArriveCan app, where travellers can put in their customs information up to 72 hours before their flight back home. Gass says this “can make the arrivals process smoother.”

Lastly, Gass advises travellers to be “mindful” of the weather during this time of year, as it can impact travel.

“During winter weather, passengers may experience delays as we prioritize safety,” Gass said. “We advise them to check the weather forecast ahead of their flight and be prepared in case their flight is affected.”