"A" FOR EFFORT?

Government Claims Airport Wait Times Almost Back to Normal at the "Beginning of the Busiest Travel Season"

Canada Airport ArrivalsIn another self-report card, Ottawa gave itself more high scores for its efforts to reduce traveller wait times at Canada’s major airports over the past week.

The joint statement was issued by Canada’s Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Public Safety, Marco Mendicino, and Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, Randy Boissonnault Monday evening, 20JUN.

"The Government of Canada recognizes the impact that significant wait times at some Canadian airports are having on travellers,” the statement begins.

“This is a global phenomenon due to the increase in air traffic across the world. Transport Canada, PHAC, CBSA, CATSA, NAV CANADA, airports and airlines continue to meet regularly to find solutions to address bottlenecks affecting travel, including at pre-board security screening and pre-clearance departure checkpoints, in customs halls, and for air traffic control, airport and airline operations.

"This week marks the beginning of the busiest travel season of the year, and we will begin seeing higher numbers of travellers through our airports. Our Government is working to maintain the progress we have made and improve in the weeks to come.”

The Ministers’ statement reiterates measures taken, including adding CBSA officers and students, more kiosks in arrivals halls, dropping random arrivals COVID testing, and putting Public Health Agency of Canada staff at the airport to assist pax with ArriveCAN.

In addition, it says that CATSA departure screening officers hired now number nearly 1000, and “with this, the number of screening officers at Toronto Pearson International Airport and Vancouver International Airport is now over 100 percent of the targeted requirements for this summer based on projected traffic.”

Patting Itself on the Back

All these measures, the government claims, are having the desired effect across Canada’s busiest airports. According to the ministers’ statement, last week:

  • At YYZ, about 91 percent of passengers now being screened within 15 minutes;
  • At YYC, a “slight overall improvement,” with about 86 percent of passengers screened within 15 minutes;
  • At YVR, about 84 percent of passengers were screened within 15 minutes, “which is fewer than the previous week, but still a significant improvement since mid-May;” and
  • At YUL, about 85 percent of passengers were screened within 15 minutes “similar to the previous week.”

While self-congratulatory, the statement does recognize the catch-up isn’t complete just yet. It adds that the Transport Minister will also be meeting with the CEOs of the six largest airports and airlines, CATSA, NAV CANADA, CBSA, and the Public Health Agency of Canada this week to “ensure ongoing collaboration” with new and ongoing measures to keep pax moving through Canada’s airports.

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