Chaos continues at some of Canada’s largest airports, with stories of hour-long waits and mountains of lost luggage.
Many are taking to social media to document their experiences at the baggage carousel, with photos showing mounds of suitcases stacked high.
The challenges that airports like Toronto Pearson have faced extend now into their third month, reaching a point where Air Canada announced on Wednesday that it will cancel hundreds of flights in the coming summer months. An Air Canada spokesperson said this will impact 77 round trips (or 154 flights) per day in total for July and August. Previously, Air Canada averaged about 1,000 flights a day. Four connections will be temporarily suspended, between Montreal and the cities of Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Kelowna, and one between Toronto and Fort McMurray.
Most affected flights are to and from Toronto and Montreal airports. International flights are unaffected, with some schedule changes.
Customers will be automatically notified of flight cancellations and available options if available. If they wish, customers can request a refund.
Why are there so many baggage problems?
Regarding baggage issues, the airline’s statement highlighted the resumption of post-pandemic travel which has resulted in more baggage delays. One of the reasons for this is that there are more people traveling and therefore more luggage. He noted that Air Canada now often flies 120,000 or more people a day, up from 23,000 a year ago.
Additionally, the operating environment globally has changed from what it was before the pandemic, including security and customs lines, aircraft held up at gates unable to offload passengers at airports and limitations on the number of flights by air traffic control that force airlines to make last-minute cancellations.
A spokesperson for Toronto Pearson says responsibility for baggage at the airport is shared among several different groups. Baggage handling, including removal from the aircraft, entry into the baggage system, and the rate at which baggage is loaded onto a baggage carousel is the responsibility of the airline and operating company. subcontracted ground handling. Baggage infrastructure and system maintenance is the responsibility of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA).
A number of issues over the past few days have resulted in baggage issues. This includes flight delays and cancellations, staff shortages at our airline partners and temporary mechanical disruptions to the baggage system.Tori Gass, Greater Toronto Airports Authority
She adds that they have worked with the airlines to ensure that unclaimed baggage is removed from carousels and staged in the baggage hall to make room for baggage from other flights.
Duncan Dee, the former chief operating officer of Air Canada, says the situation in Canada is a confluence of events that have created a shortage of personnel and aircraft.
“If it hadn’t been for the federal government delays at customs and security, you would have enough staff,” he says. “Because they’re not doing well, then you don’t have enough staff, because you have staff spending time trying to catch up with delayed flights.”
He says it is useless to compare the situation to other European airports like Heathrow and Amsterdam.
“Heathrow has been bad but it hasn’t been bad for 90 days,” he says. “If Heathrow was bad for 90 days the world would stop.
He says if people are going to make international comparisons, we should use the United States as an example because they have similar school years and travel habits.
“They don’t see anywhere near the disasters we see in Canada,” he says.