Second day of Toronto Pearson airport delays due to 'non-urgent security issue'

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Normal operations have resumed at Canada’s busiest airport after a “security issue” led to lengthy lineups and delays for the second day in a row.

In each instance, the delays were caused by an airline worker directing domestic travellers into a restricted transborder area.

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Early Friday morning, Toronto Pearson International Airport announced a “non-urgent security issue” was causing delays at Terminal 1, which is used for both domestic and international flights.

On social media, travellers shared stories of delays for flights that were U.S. bound. Around 7:30 a.m., Pearson announced the issue had been resolved and normal operations were resuming.

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The incident follows significant delays on Thursday after a ground handler reportedly guided arriving passengers to an area designated for screened travellers.

Thousands of passengers faced delays as U.S. Customs and Border Protection screened the travellers who blended in with other passengers in the terminal’s transborder section.

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The contracted ground handler was working for Lynx Air, a low-cost carrier headquartered in Alberta.

In a statement, the company said it works with a separate ground services operator and is investigating how the situation could have occurred.

Previously described as the “worst place on Earth” by former pro hockey player Ryan Whitney, who encountered his own four-hour delay at the airport last year, Pearson reported in July that a significant staffing boost had improved its operations. 

According to the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), 10,000 new employees were hired to increase baggage system reliability, reduce wait times at security and customs, and decrease holds on aircraft.

The airport made international headlines in the summer of 2022 as the easing of pandemic restrictions led to a surge of travellers who encountered baggage issues and flight cancellations.

While the increase in staffing has reportedly eased some of those issues, the airport was recently ranked the second worst in North America in J.D. Power’s annual North American Airport Satisfaction study. The study, released in September, drew from data between August 2022 and July 2023 and included responses from more than 27,000 travellers.

The airports were ranked on arrivals and departures, baggage claim, check-in and baggage check, and food, beverage and retail service. Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey was ranked as the worst overall. 

In 2022, Toronto Pearson placed 16th out of 20 in the annual survey.

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