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Air Canada, Pearson International Airport Rank First in Delays Worldwide

Published: July 11, 2022
An Air Canada plane sits parked at the gate at San Francisco International Airport on June 30, 2020 in San Francisco, California. Air Canada has ranked first in the world in the global flight delay rankings as chaos continues at Canadian airports. (Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Air Canada and Pearson International Airport have topped the global flight delay rankings for several days this week. Logistical problems in the airline industry have led to endless queues, baggage delays and flight cancellations at many Canadian airports.

According to tracking service FlightAware, Air Canada ranked first in the world with 65 percent of its flights arriving late, as airports around the world struggle to cope with the massive travel resurgence after two years of pandemic outbreaks.

Jazz Aviation, which provides regional service for Air Canada, and Air Canada Rouge, the airline’s low-cost subsidiary, were second and third respectively, with 53 percent of their flights delayed.

Last Saturday, WestJet and its low-cost subsidiary, Swoop, ranked third and fourth, respectively, with 55 percent of their flights delayed.

Meanwhile, Toronto’s Pearson International Airport had the worst delays for several days this week, the only airport in the world to have more than half of its flights delayed. The international airport in Montreal ranked 10th on July 7, possibly due to a recent computer system failure.

Air Canada announced last week that it will cut more than 15 percent of its summer flights, or nearly 10,000 flights in July and August, affecting hundreds of thousands of passengers.

Since January, Canada’s two biggest airlines, or their affiliates, have ranked in the top five of seven airlines for the number of flights delayed, according to FlightAware.

WestJet’s Swoop ranked second with 50 percent of their flights delayed and Air Canada ranked seventh with 43 percent. Regional subsidiaries WestJet Encore, Air Canada Rouge and Jazz Aviation fall somewhere in between.

Experts say passenger flow at Canadian airports is already at 2019 levels during peak times, however overall they are closer to 80 percent of pre-pandemic volumes.

The union says some pilots’ licenses have not been renewed, while ground crew and baggage handling positions remain vacant due to low wages and tight working conditions.

Federal Ministry of Transportation data shows that government agencies have been hiring more than 900 new security personnel for airport security and customs since April this year.

Longer wait times for connecting flights in Toronto

Air Canada is advising travelers of the minimum amount of time they should allow between connecting flights in Toronto.

For travel within Canada travelers should allow 40 minutes to catch their connecting flight.  If coming from another Canadian city and then heading to the U.S., travelers are advised to allow one hour and 10 minutes. When traveling from the U.S. to Canada with a connection in Toronto travelers are advised to allow one hour and 40 minutes. 

When coming from another Canadian airport and then heading to any other overseas destination travelers should allow at least an hour. When flying through Toronto from the U.S. to an international destination travelers should allow an hour as well. If heading to the U.S. through Toronto it’s recommended travelers allow for an hour and 25 minutes between flights and when coming from abroad and heading to an international destination, travelers should allow an hour for a connection through Pearson.

For an international traveler arriving in Toronto before heading to another Canadian destination, it’s advised to allow for an hour and 15 minutes or two hours until Sept. 6,  if arriving in Toronto and flying onward to Montreal from Bogotá, Doha, Dubai, Grand Cayman, Mexico City, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, San José, Santa Clara, Santiago, Seoul, Shanghai and Port of Spain.

By April Chu