Airport issues: Canadian Transport Minister talks baggage chaos at Pearson Airport

Canada’s transport minister talks about “unacceptable issues” that continue to lead to significant delays at Canadian airports after images surfaced on social media showing hundreds of pieces of baggage piled up at Pearson International Airport.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority, which manages Pearson, told CP24 Tuesday that a number of issues over the past several days have led to “challenges with baggage,” including “flight delays and cancellations, staff shortages, and temporary mechanical disruptions to the baggage system.” “

So far, dozens of people have spoken out about the loss of their luggage in Pearson, including a woman who told CP24 that her bag got lost once on her way to Phoenix and then again on the way back to Toronto, leading to a frustrating “trash bag hunt.” which ultimately proved futile.

Several photos were also posted on social media showing huge piles of luggage in Pearson’s baggage claim area, which travelers had to search in the hope of finding their lost bags.

“What we are seeing today is that while many of the CASA and CBSA issues have improved significantly, we continue to see delays, cancellations and baggage issues,” Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra told reporters in an unrelated announcement in a press release. . GTA on Wednesday. “I had talks with the four largest airports and the two largest airlines only on Thursday and will follow up with them soon. They know they need to add more resources and they are working on it and we are providing our support to address these issues. But these are unacceptable issues.”

Al-Ghabra said the federal government has done everything it can to address issues at Canadian airports, including increasing personnel at customs and security checkpoints.

He said his government was also studying the “possibility of extending the suspension” of random testing for COVID-19, which was supposed to be lifted on July 1.

This is because it is taking longer than expected to process the logistics of moving the test off-site, he said.

“What we are seeing is the demand for air travel increasing beyond what anyone expected and that is good news frankly. But the increase in demand is outstripping the ability of airlines and airports to leverage the resources they need to accommodate this rise. So we are working with airlines and airports to ensure that the necessary resources and adjustments are met. Scheduling required. Because we are also seeing extreme peaks at certain hours of the day.”

Toure says he will talk to Air Canada about the issues

Several baggage issues at Pearson are reported to be related to Air Canada flights.

In a statement provided to CP24 on Tuesday, Air Canada said “avoiding baggage delays is a top priority” because it is “nuisance and inconvenient” for customers and results in additional costs that the airline ultimately has to incur.

But they said that with “well-documented issues” at airports leading to last-minute flight cancellations, there are simply more cases of baggage delays.

Toronto Mayor John Tory told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday when asked about issues at Pearson. “I am not personally familiar with the exact way baggage is handled, but certainly from my limited knowledge I understand that most of the responsibility lies with the airlines, so I will do so in light of what happened when I was in contact with Air and find out from their point of view what Canada is The problem, what are they doing to solve their part and whether they think governments in the broad sense can be helpful in making things work better so that these baggage issues don’t arise.”

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