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Flight schedules, out-of-practice travellers contributing to long lines at Canadian airports: minister

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OTTAWA –

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says Canada’s airport security agency is increasing its staffing, but that a lack of workers is not the main culprit for the unacceptable delays passengers are facing this spring.

Multiple airports are reporting extremely long lines at airport security and border screening checkpoints while passengers say they are being forced to wait for hours — and sometimes missing their flights.

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The Greater Toronto Airports Authority said last week that staffing challenges at the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority were contributing to long lines at Toronto’s Pearson Airport.

But Alghabra says CATSA staffing is at 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels while flight volumes are still below 70 per cent, so that can’t be the main problem.

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Rather, he says out-of-practice travellers are causing delays at security checkpoints as Canadians shift back into travel mode after spending most of the last two years grounded by COVID-19.

Alghabra says changing flight schedules have also resulted in large volumes of flights leaving and arriving at the same time, causing big bottlenecks at certain times of day.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2022.

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