toronto pearson airport

Group claims Toronto Pearson Airport is punishing passengers with flight caps

With March Break just around the corner, one group is criticizing the body that oversees Toronto Pearson Airport for its decision to cap flights and the number of travellers amid the peak travel season. 

In February, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) announced that Canada's largest travel hub would be placing a "hard limit" during busy travel periods such as March Break and the upcoming summer travel season.

The measures would be implemented to "flatten-peak hour schedules," according to the authority. 

This includes hard limits on the number of commercial flights that can arrive or depart in any given hour, and the number of passengers that can arrive internationally or depart to the United States through each terminal in a given hour. 

Although the authority has yet to provide details on the cap limits, Canada's largest private sector union, Unifor, is criticizing the GTAA for "punishing" the public instead of addressing issues such as staffing. 

"The GTAA is punishing the traveling public by limiting flights and services as a band-aid solution to airport congestion, instead of fixing the problem by implementing common sense solutions to improve job quality and hire needed workers," Unifor National President Lana Payne said. 

"We need to end the chaos in airports - but a travel cap merely limits supply instead of meeting the demand. At the core of things, this is a failure to keep the aviation industry attractive to workers."

According to the union, the GTAA announced caps in August 2022 as stop cap measure to limit baggage handling and security screening during busy travel periods. 

"Seeing that the plan hasn't evolved since first announced last summer, shows just how little effort government and industry are putting into solving the underlying problems," Payne said. 

"These measures just contribute to angry and frustrated travelers. Putting a cap today isn't relieving the pressure for air travel tomorrow." 

Unifor also said that employers, including air traffic control, have been relying on overtime to avoid hiring, which puts unnecessary demands on the remaining staff. 

"Surely, the industry can do better," Payne said. 

The GTAA said that the "slot measures" maintain a balance between airline commercial interests and the capabilities of the "entities across the entire airport system."

Lead photo by

A. Wee

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