Update on runway construction at Toronto Pearson

If you’ve flown in or out of Canada’s largest and busiest airport, Toronto Pearson (YYZ) over the last several weeks, you’ve most likely been adversely affected by a construction project that has left the operating airlines and in turn the people we serve, less than thrilled with their travel experience. We’re here to provide you with background information as to why the delays have been so significant and what we’re doing to mitigate the impact on our guests moving forward.

Since March 28th and until May 16th, 2017, runway and taxiway construction has been underway at the airport to upgrade the aging infrastructure on one of the most utilized runways (05/23) to ensure continued safe aircraft operations. This is one of the largest capital projects Pearson has undertaken in many years. The necessary construction work includes removing the existing paved surface, subsurface repair and re-paving.

Prior to the start of the construction and in collaboration with Nav Canada, which controls Canada’s civil air navigation system, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) initially communicated to all airlines that they expected minimal impact on schedules, dependent of course on weather, during the construction period. Therefore, at the outset of this project no reductions in capacity (arrivals and departures) were planned by the GTAA or Nav Canada and air carriers operating in and out of YYZ did not significantly adjust their schedules to reduce capacity.

Unfortunately, because of high demand during peak periods, unfavourable weather, and Nav Canada’s adjustment to optimum runway configurations for the construction, YYZ operations have been significantly impacted over the last couple of weeks. And you, our guests, have experienced some very frustrating flight delays and cancellations. With another three weeks of construction left we can, unfortunately, expect more of the same.

Recognizing this, WestJet has proactively taken steps, including adjusting our schedules to reduce the load on YYZ operations in hopes of mitigating the impact to you, our guests and our schedule. We continue to work with Nav Canada, the GTAA and other airlines to lessen the impact of the runway construction. In addition, WestJet’s operations control center (OCC) is in constant contact with the GTAA and Nav Canada to reduce delays and related impacts to our entire operation.

The good news is that even with uncooperative weather over the last couple of weeks, the construction is on schedule to be completed by May 16th, 2017.

We are as frustrated as you are with the situation. It certainly does not provide us with the optimal environment to provide you with a remarkable guest experience. During this time, please know that the impact to our guests is recognized. Thank you for your patience as YYZ continues to build a safe and efficient airport.

Finally, as is always the case, please check the status of your flight so that you can be informed of any changes. If you have an email address or mobile phone number associated with your reservation we’ll keep you informed of any changes to your flights.