Pearson airport anticipates Friday will be ‘busiest travel day’ since pandemic began – Toronto


Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport, says it is anticipating Friday will be the “busiest travel day” at the airport since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a press release issued Wednesday, the airport said preparations are “well underway at Toronto Pearson for the traditionally busy March Break travel season.”

The release said officials expect approximately 85,000 passengers will depart or arrive at Pearson on March 11.

“This will mark the busiest travel day at the airport since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago,” the release said. “Pearson wants passengers who are travelling for March Break to know what they can do to make their airport experience as smooth as possible as many may be travelling for the first time in two years or more.”

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The airport said while some travel restrictions have eased, some remain.

“For the March Break period, delays are possible and longer wait times are to be expected due to many COVID-19 health measures still in place,” the airport said. “Pearson is working closely with airlines and government agencies to find every efficiency possible, but passengers should be aware that coming out of the pandemic, all companies and government agencies operating at the airport sometimes face staffing challenges similar to those in other service sectors.”

The airport said passengers are asked to “pack their patience” and to “be kind to workers.”

“The entire airport community is working together to ensure that passenger and employee health and safety remain our shared top priority,” the release reads.

The airport said passengers should give themselves “even more time when arriving for their flight,” adding that travellers will encounter process changes and may encounter longer wait times than in pre-pandemic times.

“Passengers are advised to arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes in advance of domestic flights and at least three hours in advance of international flights,” the release said.

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Travel: Transport Canada cruise rules to keep passengers safe

Travel: Transport Canada cruise rules to keep passengers safe

The airport also said passengers arriving from international destinations will experience additional screening and health checks, “which may result in delays.”

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“Passengers should be prepared for an arrivals process that may take significantly longer than it did pre-pandemic depending on their specific set of circumstances,” the release reads.

What have airlines said?

In an email to Global News, Denise Kenny, a spokesperson for WestJet, said the airline has seen an “uptick in demand” for both short-term and long-term travel, in light of the federal government easing testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers.

“However, there is still a long way to go, as we are currently operating approximately 350+ flights a day in comparison to 700+ pre-pandemic,” she wrote.

Kenny said the pandemic has “significantly changed the travel journey.”

“As we welcome some guests back for the first time in more than two years, we continue to advise our guests to prepare and plan for the travel journey to take a little more time.

“As always we appreciate our guests continued patience and understanding as we continue to rebuild our staffing and service levels in recovery,” the email reads.

In an email to Global News, Peter Fitzpatrick a spokesperson for Air Canada said there is “no doubt the March break period is traditionally a busy time.”

“But we have also seen a steady increase in traffic since last year as COVID recedes and safety measures give customers the confidence to travel again,” he wrote. “We expect this will increase as remaining government restrictions are lifted and Canadians return to normal travel patterns.”

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Fitzpatrick said in “anticipation of this,” there are a few things the airline is asking travelers to remember.

He said those travelling can consult the airline’s Travel Ready hub to get up to date information.

What’s more, he said before arriving at the airport, passengers can make their trip faster and avoid line-ups by checking in, validating certificates and test results and obtaining boarding passes online.

Fitzpatrick also said travelers should give themselves “ample time,” noting that this is “quite important as traffic increases.”

He also said those returning to Canada should have all their documents “in order.”

“If you are travelling from outside Canada, be sure to meet all the Canadian government requirements for entry into Canada, including for testing and vaccination,” he wrote.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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