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Ottawa, air sector discuss industry concerns ahead of winter travel season

A ground worker walks under one of the wings of a WestJet Airlines Boeing 737 Max aircraft after it arrived at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. Canada's Transport Minister met with airlines and airports to ensure reliable service for travellers ahead of what is expected to be a busy travel season.

MONTREAL – Delays at safety check-in and different issues at Canada’s airports have been among the many considerations raised Thursday because the air journey trade got here collectively forward of the busy winter journey season, however the sector warns extra stays to be achieved.

Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra convened the summit for the trade to debate such points as transparency, accountability and passenger rights.

“The air trade was devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic,“ mentioned Alghabra in a press launch ”Final summer season, the trade confronted a brand new disaster of congestion and delays.“

Alghabra famous that passenger volumes rose 280 per cent between February and June. The excessive passenger volumes and insufficient staffing ranges contributed to a summer season of misplaced baggage and flight disruptions, throughout which Toronto’s Pearson Worldwide Airport had the world’s worst report on delayed flights.

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With the height winter journey season across the nook, passengers and trade alike are involved that related issues might emerge.

key points mentioned on the summit embody the persistent labour scarcity, inflation and lack of income, Alghabra mentioned in a cellphone interview.

He mentioned regardless of the remaining pilot scarcity, air sector staffing is usually again to 2019 ranges, however issues round coaching delays corresponding to safety screeners stay.

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“It takes a while to coach an worker within the sector,” mentioned Alghabra.

The top of the Canadian Airport Council says that capital bills are a priority, as Canadian airports took on $3.2 billion in debt to proceed operations throughout the pandemic.

“Servicing this debt and paying deferred lease to the federal authorities will make it tough to finance the infrastructure initiatives which can be important to airport operations,” Monette Pasher mentioned.

She mentioned there’s a have to undertake digital options that can streamline border crossing and safety processes and for extra knowledge transparency.

Alghabra says the federal authorities has elevated collaboration with the airways and airports to make sure that the required operational procedures and sources are in place for the vacation season.

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A spokeswoman for the Higher Toronto Airports Authority, Tori Gass, says it has labored carefully with airways and authorities and that the airport has seen vital enhancements for the reason that summer season.

Even so, the transport minister warned that some measures mentioned on the summit won’t be in impact in time for the winter journey surge.

Whereas Canada’s air sector has come a great distance from the worst days of the pandemic, Pasher mentioned the trade nonetheless has an extended option to go.

“We would like Canadians to have the ability to journey to their vacation spot, both have a good time the vacations with their household or go on a trip. We need to ensure that the system is ready and prepared for this,” mentioned Alghabra.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Nov. 24, 2022.


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