Toronto Pearson introduces technology upgrades to improve passenger experience

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The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) will implement a host of digital, transparency and staffing measures at Toronto Pearson International Airport to improve the passenger experience during the summer travel rush.

These measures arrive in response to the challenges encountered last summer due to the sudden resurgence of air travel following Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. Processes that will help smooth the travel experience at Pearson Airport for the summer of 2023 include self-service infrastructure like contactless check-in and boarding processes, as well as a new partnership with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to deploy biometric e-gates, expediting customs clearance for travelers. There will be new digital technology at check-in, gates and baggage areas to replace the current generation of self-service technology as it nears the end of its life.

GTAA will deploy enhanced digital mapping tools to empower travelers with better information as they navigate terminals. Alongside this, the airport will expand hours for its YYZ Express service which enables passengers to pre-book spaces in security lines. It will also put this offering into service at every security screening point.

Furthermore, an upgraded baggage system featuring AI will be implemented to anticipate overloading and detect potential breakdowns before they occur. To support its baggage services, the airport authority will also capture data and push accountability with airlines and their ground handlers on proper training and staffing availability. Better staffing is expected to reduce baggage recirculation, maintain baggage system capacity, prevent bag jams and reduce related delays at check-in and departure. Additionally, it will create a resource pool of employees and contracted staff who would be available to move bags by hand during irregular operations. It will also hire 130 team members and bolster staffing in critical areas such as bussing, baggage handling and terminal operations.

GTAA will also deploy a new customer-experience platform and dashboard to provide real-time analysis and insights on key customer sentiment metrics. This will give staff better insights, flag issues for our airline partners and address service issues faster. To ensure real-time confidence, the airport authority will install new sensors and pull screening data to post wait times for all agency checkpoints in the terminal and on its website. This is to give passengers better live information and a clear understanding of what to expect.

To improve its slot assignments, GTAA plans to proactively manage the volume of flights coming into Toronto Pearson with partners on an hourly basis to ensure that the airport ecosystem is capable of receiving and processing these incoming passengers in a timely and efficient way. Similarly, it will ask airlines and their service providers to verify staffing and operational plans for regular and irregular operations. This is to reduce staffing-related air traffic management initiatives (A-TMIs), disruptions, delays and missed connections, and help ensure that they can deliver their summer 2023 schedules. GTAA is asking airlines and their ground handlers for corrective action plans in areas where performance does not meet acceptable standards in areas such as check-in, baggage delivery, gate holds, no-crew events and overall staffing levels.

According to the airport authority, these measures have already improved the passenger experience through faster check-in and boarding processes, reduced wait times and smoother baggage handling.

Deborah Flint, president and CEO of GTAA, said, “Last summer was challenging for passengers, and we have responded with a full suite of process improvements and practices with our partners to deliver a more customer-centric and reliable experience. Our new approaches include more resources, transparency and resiliency planning; we are excited to welcome passengers for a robust summer travel in our improved airport environment.”

Read more passenger experience updates from the passenger terminal industry, here.

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As the latest addition to the UKi Media & Events team, Elizabeth brings research skills from her English degree to her keen interest in the meteorological and transportation industries. Having taken the lead in student and startup publications, she has gained experience in editing online and print titles on a wide variety of topics. In her current role as Editorial Assistant, Elizabeth will create new and topical content on the pioneering technologies in transportation, logistics and meteorology.

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