Toronto Pearson International Airport is set to limit the number of flights that can land and takeoff at peak travel times in an effort to improve delays.
In a statement sent to Global News, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which operates Pearson, said the move was part of a series of measures ahead of the March break and summer travel season.
“These include hard limits on the number of commercial flights that can arrive or depart in any given hour along with limits on business/general aviation flights,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“In addition, measures have been applied to cap the number of passengers that can arrive internationally, or depart to the United States through each terminal, in a given hour,” the statement said.
In a follow-up statement on Tuesday evening, the airport said it was working to “flatten” daily peaks.
“As opposed to limiting the total number of flights that Toronto Pearson can accommodate over a given period, this work has been predominantly focused on limiting flight activity during certain peak hours, thereby spreading demand out over the course of each day.”
GTAA also said it has brought in an outside firm to do a “baggage system health check.” The check will include interviews and onsite assessment and is slated to be completed by this spring.
The change comes after a difficult year for the airport, with a series of issues around delays, cancellations and luggage.
At the beginning of the summer, as flight delays and cancellations plagued the airport, one former Air Canada executive told Global News the Canadian government was caught “flat-footed” by a surge in travel demand, compounding delays.
“The root cause of it is really very poor preparation,” he said. “You have government agencies that are completely unprepared for what everyone knew.”
Data through tracking websites such as Flight Aware in the summer suggested the issue was particularly bad in Toronto.
One week in July, Toronto Pearson saw 44 per cent of flights come and go on time, up from an average of 35 per cent over the four previous weeks, and far better than the 20 to 25 per cent it was seeing in the early parts of the summer.
In September, a survey found that Pearson was among the lowest airports in North America for customer satisfaction.
The J.D. Power airport satisfaction survey found Pearson ranked 16 out of 20 in the mega airports category, which includes airports that see more than 33 million passengers a year.
The ranking was based on a 1,000-point scale where Pearson received a score of 755, down 25 points from last year and 14 points below the average ranking for major airports.
In the fall, the airport’s record improved. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority reported that 89 per cent of passengers cleared security in less than 15 minutes during the week of October 10 to 17, 2022, for example.
In November, Pearson announced a new program, YYZ Express, allowing some passengers to book their security slot ahead of time.
— with files from The Canadian Press