Members of the House of Commons Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Committee are due to meet on Monday to discuss a request from committee members to launch a study into airport delays and flight cancellations.
The House of Commons is not expected to resume until the end of September, but if at least four members of a committee from at least two different political parties request a meeting, one can be called. In this case, the six opposition members of the committee — representing the Conservatives, the NDP and the Bloc Québécois — called the meeting.
Flight cancellations and significant delays for travellers, particularly at Toronto’s Pearson airport, have been going on for months. In July, it was ranked the worst airport in the world for flight delays, according to data from flight tracking site FlightAware, compiled for CNN Travel.
“At the height of our travel season, the government has refused to listen to advocates, frontline workers and ordinary Canadians to make sensible improvements to our country’s airports and abandon their ongoing measures causing further delays,” said the Conservative Department of Transport. critic and committee vice-chair Melissa Lantsman, in an email to CTVNews.ca on Friday. “There has been no significant improvement and our reputation continues to be tarnished globally.”
Lantsman said opposition members of the committee want Transport Minister Omar Alghabra to explain the reason for the delays to ensure Canadians receive “the levels of service they deserve” when they travel.
The head of the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) provided an update Friday on “incremental progress” in reducing wait times and cancellations.
GTAA President and CEO Deborah Flint said wait times to clear security, customs and baggage claim are decreasing and the situation is “slowly improving.”
“While there is indeed still a long way to go, these efforts are bringing improvements,” Flint said. She added that while reduced wait times may be marginal, they are also measurable.
Flint said the number of flights that are on time rose from just 35% a few weeks ago to 44% on Friday. She also said data from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority shows that 82% of passengers are currently screened within 15 minutes.
A press release issued on Wednesday on behalf of the ministers of transport, health, public safety and tourism said the federal government is meeting regularly with airports and airlines to find solutions, as well as to hire more staff. and making improvements to the much-criticized ArriveCan app, to deal with airport delays.