GTAA releases report detailing actions to improve airport operations, communications and customer service

TORONTO, April 10, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, the Board of Directors of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) released "Toronto Pearson, January 2014 Operations Disruptions: Review and Recommendations," a report on the unusual weather conditions experienced at the airport between January 5 and 9, 2014 that outlines a series of actions to improve Toronto Pearson's operations, communication and customer service.

Immediately following the events in early January, the Board of Directors of the GTAA established an ad hoc committee to study the disruption to operations and to identify steps to improve the passenger experience through changes to airport operations, communications and customer service. After completing a substantive and wide-ranging review, the GTAA today announced twelve actions that will improve Toronto Pearson's overall effectiveness.

While maintaining safety will always be the GTAA's top priority, if and when Toronto Pearson faces unusual weather conditions, these action items will improve passenger well-being and the airport authority's ability to better communicate with passengers. Further, these action items will help Toronto Pearson communicate with passengers in real time.

As Canada's leading transportation hub and vital economic engine, it is important that the airport be prepared in advance for irregular operations, have tools to communicate effectively with passengers, and consistently deliver excellent customer service.

Listed in detail in the report, these action items include:

  • Improved protocols for communicating with passengers and the public to ensure frequent and timely, accurate, and consistent communication;
  • A new Toronto Pearson mobile application that will make travelling through the airport easier for passengers;
  • Updated and published guidelines for addressing the needs of passengers during times of severe delays and irregular operations so passengers know the GTAA's commitment to them;
  • An 'Airport Updates' web page has already been launched and would become the GTAA website's dominant landing web page during irregular operations.
  • Improvements to Toronto Pearson's WiFi and cellular capacity to meet increasing demands will also be delivered;
  • Establishing clear early warning criteria and defining joint escalation levels and procedures with key airport service providers to ensure timely, responsive and coordinated decision-making where large-scale service level disruptions occur or are imminent;
  • Securing additional equipment for unusual winter weather operations to improve the resilience of the airport to weather; and
  • Expanding and better equipping the Emergency Operations Centre to allow for improved coordination of airport service providers to better manage disruptions.

To ensure that the GTAA meets its commitment to improve passengers' experiences at Toronto Pearson, the GTAA will provide an update to the public on the progress made in November 2014.

The full report, including a full list of actions, can be read by visiting http://www.torontopearson.com/yourairportyoursay/#

QUICK FACTS

  • Between January 5 and 9, 2014, much of Canada and the United States experienced unusual winter weather conditions. Over this period, Toronto Pearson experienced a combination of rain, snow, unexpected snow squalls and wind chills that reaches as low as -39 degrees Celsius.
  • The fact-based review included information collected from a number of sources, including: public focus groups and outreach; airport service provider interviews; GTAA management's analysis and review of the incident; an independent communications review; an Airports Council International (ACI) expert panel review; and a detailed document review and analysis. The GTAA consulted with industry experts and sought input from three key stakeholder groups: the travelling public, airport employees and Toronto Pearson airport service providers (e.g., airlines, government agencies, and commercial service providers).
  • Additionally, the Ad Hoc Committee engaged a Blue Ribbon Panel to independently review and evaluate submissions received to help ensure that recommendations put forward are sufficient to address the issues identified and will contribute to improving services offered to passengers.

QUOTES

Toronto Pearson's goal is to provide all visitors with the world-class travel experience they expect and deserve. This review and its actions will help enhance passenger well-being and will improve communications with our passengers.
Vijay Kanwar, Chair of the Board of Directors, GTAA

The goal of our review has been to improve the service we offer our visitors. We can do so by improving our unusual winter weather operations to prevent and mitigate the impacts of disruptions, where possible. When disruptions do occur, we will do a better job of communicating with the public; and we will treat our passengers with a high standard of customer service.
Shaun Francis, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee, GTAA

The GTAA management team is committed to bringing these recommendations to life. In fact, since the launch of the GTAA's review, we have already begun to implement many of the operational, communications and customer service changes that will improve passengers' experience. This is a priority for our team.
Howard Eng, Chief Executive Officer, GTAA

Unifor puts health and safety for all airport workers and travelling customers first. We are pleased to see that a review has taken place and moving forward this review will benefit all aspects and sectors of the airport and Local 2002 members.
Ata Ugursoy, District Chair 333, Local 2002 Unifor

Toronto Pearson is Air Canada's largest hub and key to the airline's future growth and success. We look forward to working collaboratively with the GTAA and all of Toronto Pearson's service providers to implement the actions identified in this report."
Nick Careen, Vice President Airports, Call Centres and Customer Relations, Air Canada

WestJet welcomes the GTAA's report. Working with the GTAA and Toronto Pearson's stakeholders to implement these action items will help to improve the airport's operations, communications and customer service during unusual weather.
Fred Cleveland, Executive Vice President, Operations, WestJet

The GTAA is the operator of Toronto Pearson International Airport, handling the most airline passengers and cargo traffic of any Canadian airport.  Toronto Pearson is the second busiest airport in terms of international traffic (international and transborder) in North America. In 2013, 36.1 million passengers travelled through Toronto Pearson.


SOURCE Greater Toronto Airports Authority

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Contact:  GTAA Media Office (416) 776-3709