Voices of Travel

EXCLUSIVE: Toronto Pearson Is Flying High

GTAA Is On Course For A Bright Future


Make no mistake about it, Toronto Pearson Airport is on course for a bright future, reports Bob Mowat in this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press.

During a luncheon at Toronto’s tony Boulevard Club hosted by Baxter Travel Media and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), a group of 40 or so senior airline industry executives had the opportunity to get the inside story on what’s new and what’s ahead for Toronto Pearson from the GTAA’s director aviation business development, John Sharp.

Sharp began by telling his audience that in the 1970s, Toronto Pearson served about 10 million passengers annually, however that traffic more than doubled – to around 21 million – by the 1990s.

By 2015, Toronto Pearson handled 41 million passengers, with Sharp pointing out that: “In 2015, our growth in overall passenger traffic was 6.4%. In 2016, we are on a similar high growth trajectory.”

In fact, he noted that for the first half of 2016, traffic was up by 7.5% and in July alone it rose by 10%.

“To lend some context to these numbers,” Sharp said, “I would note that not only are we the number one airport in Canada, in terms of total passenger traffic, but we are also the second largest airport in North America in terms of international passenger traffic.”

Consider the following:

  • Toronto Pearson services 115,000 passengers a day – that’s one-third of Canada’s daily air traffic.
  • The second largest airport in Canada is Vancouver International which served 20 million passengers in 2015, or just half of Toronto Pearson’s throughput.
  • Toronto Pearson serves 180 destinations worldwide with some 60 airlines operating at the airport.
  • Toronto Pearson directly connects its passengers to 67% of the world’s economy.

As for how this growth benefits the Greater Toronto area and Ontario, Sharp pointed out that about 40,000 people work at Toronto Pearson, with an additional 245,000 people working in the surrounding area.

“Toronto Pearson facilitates an economic impact of $35.4 billion, accounting for almost 6% of Ontario’s GDP,” Sharp observed.

He continued: “One great example – and a distinctly Canadian one – of Toronto Pearson as a local economic enabler and an international connector of people, places and things would be our exports of Canadian lobster. In 2014, we exported nearly $80 million in live lobster coming from Canada’s east coast, with half of that amount going to China.”

For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition by clicking here.


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