Half of domestic flights to Canada’s major airports were delayed and canceled last week Pi News

News Details

Most domestic flights to Canada’s busiest airports have been delayed or canceled over the past week as the effects of an overloaded international network continue to ripple across the country.

In the seven days between June 22 and 28, 54 per cent of flights to the four major airports went out of schedule, according to analytics firm Tata Vaso.

More than 44 percent of the 4,815 flights were delayed and 8.5 percent were canceled altogether.

Toronto’s Pearson Airport topped the list, with 51 percent of flights delayed — more than 700 — and 12 percent canceled. Montreal ranked second with 43 percent delays and 15 percent cancellations. The other two airports are Vancouver and Calgary.

read more:

How To Avoid Delays Domestically And Overseas As Summer Travel Heats Up

The story continues below the ad

Airlines and the federal government scrambled to respond to scenes of endless lines, flight disruptions, lost luggage and daily chaos at airports. Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Canadian Aviation Security Authority (CATSA).

John Gradek, head of aviation management at McGill University, says carriers have used Ottawa as a “sacrifice” while at the same time planning more flights than providing them with staff or flights, thus causing delays and cancellations.

“Airlines have lost some of their mojo,” he said. “The government has reacted and raised resources. We are still confused.”

The Airport Security Company of Canada has hired more than 900 screeners since April, although many are still in training. Ottawa suspended random COVID-19 testing of vaccinated passengers from June 11 until at least Thursday, following departmental requests for expeditious processing of international travelers.

Passengers and federally regulated transport workers are no longer required to be fully vaccinated to board a plane or train or come to work in Canada.

Click to play video: 'Calgary Airport Steps to Make Summer Travel Smooth' Expect More Passengers'

Calgary Airport is taking steps for a smooth summer journey as more travelers expect

Calgary Airport is taking steps for a smooth summer journey as more travelers expect

Ray Harris, president of Fredericton-based Data Vaso, said his figures showed flight disruptions did not improve in June — despite suspended tests and employees returning to work — at the start of the peak travel season.

The story continues below the ad

“It doesn’t really move the needle in any direction,” he said in an interview. “Or maybe it just sped things up. But in the other direction, passengers probably also increased, so there’s a net-zero effect.

Harris is one of thousands of Canadians who feel the frustration personally. She was scheduled to fly from Fredericton to Toronto on June 9 with her partner and three-year-old child for a four-day trip. Air Canada canceled the flight 21 hours before departure. The rebooked flight had a four-hour layover in Montreal and was canceled.

“We went to drive to PEI instead,” he said.

“I said screw it up. If I do not have a vacation, I’ll create a (data) dashboard.”

Philippe Rainville, chief executive officer of Montreal’s airport authority, said in an interview that global flight disruptions have knocked domestic schedules.

“This is the result of delays on international flights,” he said. “It’s very easy to delay domestic flights because we fly to major destinations in Europe, the seats are very tight. Domestically, we’re got a lot more opportunities.

read more:

Flair is Canadian, but ‘not quite,’ admits the CEO. What’s next for the airline?

Luggage is a particularly sticky problem, and among the last-minute gate changes there is a shortage of luggage handlers to shuttle suitcases from late arrivals to connecting flights.

The story continues below the ad

“It creates a disturbance and congestion and to some extent it is a dream,” Rainville said.

In Montreal, he said, the federal airport security and customs agency’s hiring pipeline has “improved significantly.” “It’s not perfect, but it’s much better.”

Even if the number of passengers is less than the size of 2019, they will be equal at peak times. “Obviously we do not have the staff for this. We have all the new staff, they are the new trainees, they need to increase the learning curve, it is difficult,” he said, adding that retaining staff is another barrier.

“They’re not enough. If you get sick, they get sick,” said Helen Becker, an aviation analyst at financial services firm Cowen.

Click to play video: 'Toronto Pearson Airport reminds travelers to avoid over-packing'

Toronto Pearson Airport reminds travelers to avoid packing

Toronto Pearson Airport reminds travelers to avoid over-packing – June 21, 2022

Kings in one part of the airline can irritate others, and overcrowded customs areas prevent crews from landing, for example, delays are exacerbated by the lack of airline customer service agents.

The story continues below the ad

Flights operated in Dormac may leave employees with “duty hours” – regulation of working hours and contract limits – triggering employee breaks. Check-in counters cannot be closed because agents have tied up passengers boarding for a delayed flight, causing delays in another area of ​​the airport. Luggage handlers face similar slips.

Passengers say they receive repeated last-minute emails regarding repeated delays, flight changes or scheduled rescheduling after the original departure time. The reasons cited range from the absence of pilots to unplanned engine maintenance.

Air Canada said it continues to hire 32,000 employees — approaching 2019 staffing levels — and that its schedule is operating at just 80 percent of 2019 blocks, said spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick.

© 2022 Canadian Press