Safety is paramount when it comes to the security screening of passengers at the Skyxe Saskatoon International Airport but while agents are watching you, who’s watching them?
Access to Information records has revealed hundreds of complaints filed by passengers who took off from the airport between 2016 and 2018. The majority of the 221-page document details the frustrations felt by patrons as they painfully stood in security line-ups for upwards of two hours.
Chief among the concerns reported to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) was that agents only used two lines to screen patrons instead of all four to speed up the process, and that delays from the very start in Saskatoon often meant being hooped the rest of the day when trying to catch connections.
“There are certain times of day where our screening lines are longer than average — primarily if you’re flying out before eight a.m.,” said CJ Dushinski, vice-president of service quality with Skyxe.
“We are a head-start airport which means that our flights are going onto other hubs first thing in the morning.”
Keep in mind that security screening is somewhat separate from the airport entirely, the authority has nothing to do with it — it’s CATSA that does the hiring and operational duties related to screening.
The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority issued a statement to Global News about the complaints.
“CATSA’s priority is to offer the highest levels of security to the travelling public. Wait times in Saskatoon are comparable to wait times across the country in similar-sized airports,” stated Christine Langlois, senior advisor with the organization.
“Wait times may sometimes be longer than normal. This happens at all airports on occasion due to a number of factors.”
Despite security screening being out of its control, Dushinski expressed her disappointment after having reviewed the dozens upon dozens of complaints.
“We don’t want any of our guests to have a poor experience when they’re travelling through our building,” she said.
“It is our facility at the end of the day and we obviously would like those passengers to have as positive experience as possible when flying through Skyxe.”
CATSA has vowed to work closely with stakeholders and the airport to improve security screening efficiency during peak travel times and passengers are reminded that they can also play a part by arriving early, two hours prior to taking off for a domestic flight and three for international destinations.