Airports To Feds: Security Screening Is Biggest Irritant

Open Jaw

Security screening is the biggest source of complaints from Canadian air travellers today.

That fact, coupled with strong growth in passenger volumes, is why the Canadian Airports Council is encouraging Transport Minister Marc Garneau to “re-initiate” commitments made last year for improving the screening process.

In a meeting of the Air Industry Standing Ministerial Advisory Committee, Canada's airports outlined how they experienced growth of 5.4% in pax volumes last year, leading to long lines and weary travellers at security screening and Canadian border services at airports.

"Canada's airports work closely with our air carrier partners in our shared areas of passenger experience," said CAC Chair Howard Eng. "The most common source of complaints by air travellers remains within the purview of government: The experience at screening and, increasingly at our air borders."

With strong growth in passenger forecasts well into the future, airports want service standards established for CATSA screening and a funding model that allows resources to grow with demand. The CAC is also urging government to move faster on deployment of technologies and processes to improve the flow and experience of passengers while lowering operating costs. These are all things Garneau talking about in a ‘Transportation 2030’ speech in Montreal last year.

"We need to do better," said Garneau.  "By comparison, our competitor countries are doing better. Wait times in Germany, France and Belgium range between 90-95% of passengers waiting 10 minutes or less. We will work to set internationally competitive targets, allowing Canada's airports to keep up with hubs in other countries."

"It should be a 'good news story,'” said CAC President Daniel-Robert Gooch.

“Record air travellers are boosting international visitor numbers, which means happy tourism operators and extra tax revenues for government.  But permanent, structural changes to how screening is delivered and funded are needed to keep air travellers moving through Canadian airports this year."

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