The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which manages and operates Toronto Pearson International Airport, says Ottawa needs to take action to address the line up chaos facing pax at YYZ and other Canadian gateways.
The GTAA says it's, "acutely aware of the extreme wait times that passengers are facing within Toronto Pearson."
Three government checkpoints at YYZ where bottlenecks are creating chaos:
Pre-Departure: security screening provided by Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA)
Wait times for departing passengers at security screening points are being negatively impacted by staffing challenges at CATSA, says GTAA.
Pre-clearance on departure for U.S. destinations, provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (US-CBP)
US-bound travellers are impacted both by CATSA and USCBP staffing shortages.
International Arrival: customs clearance provided by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), including additional requirements established by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)
GTAA says that international arriving passengers are facing bottlenecks and very lengthy delays in border processing— "a direct result of legacy public health requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To prevent severe passenger congestion, airport and airline staff are forced to hold passengers on planes and deliberately meter the flow of arriving travellers into the customs hall for processing by CBSA, a process that we know and appreciate is incredibly frustrating for passengers."
Ringing the Alarm
The GTAA is urgently calling on the Government of Canada to:
- streamline or eliminate inbound legacy public health requirements at Canada's airports, and in doing, help to alleviate bottlenecks for international arriving passengers;
- eliminate random testing upon arrival from Canada's airports and look to effective and proven options such as community wastewater testing;
- invest in the necessary government agency staffing and technology to achieve globally competitive service level standards; and
- engage with the U.S. Government to ensure staffing and capacity at preclearance sites return to pre-pandemic levels.
Open, But "Far From Recovered"
In its public appeal to Ottawa, the GTAA says, "While we may be open, we are far from recovered."
It says it needs "immediate" federal government help to support air sector recovery.
"Our goal at the GTAA is to provide a safe, healthy, seamless experience for everyone passing through Toronto Pearson and to offer air passengers in Canada the world-class travel experience they deserve and expect."