Monday, June 13, 2022

Want to know why Pearson Airport is such a shit-show?

A seasoned traveler I know explained to me recently why Pearson is in such utter chaos these days, and it has little to do with vaccine mandates.

Apparently, as the pandemic took hold and fewer and fewer people were flying, one of the responses from Air Canada (and other airlines) was to cancel convenient direct flights and simply route everyone through Pearson. As examples, she mentioned cancelled direct flights from Boston to Ottawa, and Ottawa to Winnipeg.

Now, while the above makes financial sense, it means that as soon as air travel picks up again, you kind of have to add those direct flights back because, if you don't, well, what you get is what's happening at Pearson right now -- far too many people and planes being funneled through a single airport until those direct flights are reinstated.

So can we please stop shrieking about vaccine mandates?


Leslie Rosenblood said...

It's more than that - staffing levels at Pearson (customs officials, baggage handlers, and so on) were cut significantly during the pandemic. As with other low-wage, high-stress positions, Pearson has had trouble finding people to fill these roles once travel volumes increased - and those they have hired have tended not to be the ones they laid off, so there is a significant productivity gap while they are trained and learn the ropes. Oddly, Pearson (like so many employers) have not responded to this staffing shortage by increasing wages, benefits, or working conditions.

Anonymous said...

I understand that covid-related staff cuts were in the 10-15% range. Current travel demand is at around 70-75% of pre-Covid levels. But everyone is pretending Covid's gone while we still have 175 cases in Mississauga and Brampton hospitals. How much of the staffing shortage is down to people calling in sick from working in an airport overcrowded with travelers from around the world? These seem like ideal conditions for Covid spread.