GTAA Criticized for ‘Ground Hold’ at Pearson International Airport

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority is being harshly criticized for their decision to stop all arriving North American flights for more than eight hours at Pearson International Airport, which literally stranded thousands of frustrated passengers and caused serious delays since that day. The authority announced to impose ‘ground hold’ due to frigid temperatures of -25C and -40C wind chills at around 2 a.m. on Tuesday, which meant that no flights were allowed to land at the busy airport, until it was lifted at 10 a.m.

As a result, more than 50 per cent of all 774 arriving flights, i.e. 381, had to be cancelled as of Tuesday evening. Consequently, hundreds of weary travellers slept on seats or trudged forward in hours-long lines to rebook their cancelled or missed flights. Chief Executive Officer at GTAA, Howard Eng, was located to be out of country on business at the time and was not expected to return until Friday, while his staff refused to comment on his behalf and alleged that his “schedule does not allow” for an interview.

Vice President of strategy development for the GTAA, Toby Lennox, revealed that the decision to impose ‘Ground Stop’ at the airport is the CEO’s first in his 15-year career. He alleged that usually stops are only imposed due to snowstorms or lightning and last only a few hours. Although, he also admitted that “it’s just never been this extreme,” and “no matter how much you prepare, you’re not going to be able to make the event go away. I can’t prepare to make the weather go away.”

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