Airlines support Pearson airport’s decision to shut down during freeze

Discussion in 'YYZ/YTZ | Toronto Area Airports' started by sobore, Jan 16, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Air Canada is defending a disruptive shutdown last week at Toronto's Pearson Airport due to a deep-freeze that swept much of the continent.
    Chief financial officer Michael Rousseau told an analyst conference Thursday that the airline stopped flights into Canada's busiest airport because the ground was like a skating rink caused by flash freezing as temperatures quickly dropped well below zero following a rain storm.

    It also supported a rare "ground stop" that was subsequently issued by Pearson's operator, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority.

    With flights backed up, Rousseau said Air Canada decided to stop flying into Toronto to avoid leaving passengers stranded on the tarmac for four or five hours.

    "GTAA followed us right afterwards. That was the right decision from our perspective," he said.

    Rousseau apologized for the inconvenience to customers, noting that operations had been affected from Dec. 19 until just a couple of days ago because of the freeze and a prior ice storm.

    "We think we actually operated well through the situation. When your major hub Toronto is shut down like it was early last is a very difficult situation."

    A review of that decision is underway, but Rousseau said the big question is why there was so much ice on the tarmac that a typical 20-minute airplane towing took 90 minutes.

    WestJet Airlines also said it supports the GTAA's "unprecedented" decision, which has drawn scrutiny by the federal government.

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