Pearson International Airport in Toronto among Canada’s best and worst

Steve Mertl
National Affairs Contributor
Daily Brew

I'm not sure what this means but Toronto's Lester B. Pearson International Airport ranks as both the worst and one of the best in Canada.

The paradoxical results are found in the State of Air Travel survey, which rates the best and worst airports in Canada and internationally, based on an online poll of travellers.

Pearson was rated worst in Canada by 36.6 per cent of respondents, up from 27.6 per cent in the 2010 survey.

But it also ranked second-best in the country at 20.6 per cent, though down almost seven percentage points from 2010.

You have to wonder whether YYZ's slide was connected partly with Air Canada's contract dispute-based disruptions, which were out of the airport's control.

The National Post's Alex Nino Gheciu noted 57.2 per cent of respondents said slow security was the top criteria in rating the worst airports. Pearson laid off 300 security screeners this year, FlightNetwork marketing manager Jamil al Jabri told him.

"Security has been cut by 10 per cent," al Jabri said. "They promised that passengers wouldn't notice the difference, but I think people perceive the service has worsened regardless of whether wait times have changed."

Security waits, quality of service and dining options were the main criteria influencing the 400 people polled, FlightNetwork said.

Al Jabri noted Pearson has already addressed the lack of eating choices, announcing the airport will have 13 high-end eateries owned by celebrity chefs with the next year.

"That should please a lot of people," he told the Post.

Toronto's position on both the best and worst lists may have something to do with its size and heavy traffic, al Jabri said.

"It just means more Canadians have had some sort of experience there, whether it's good or it's bad," he said.

Vancouver International Airport finished atop the rankings for the second straight time, rising slightly to 34.6 per cent. YVR's worst-airport rating slipped a little to 6.6 from 5.4 per cent.

The survey cited Vancouver's "cleanliness," speedy security screening and good commercial concessions, the Post reported.

Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport was rated second-worst in Canada at 17.7 per cent, followed by Edmonton International at 9.9 per cent and Winnipeg International at seven per cent.

The other international airports on the worst list - Victoria, Ottawa and Halifax, all finished around five per cent.

The best-airport rankings has Ottawa in third place at 10.7 per cent, Montreal and Halifax at 7.8 per cent, Edmonton at 6.2, with Winnipeg and Victoria trailing the pack.

Among international travellers, Hong Kong topped the best-airport rankings with 13 per cent, followed closely by Sydney, Australia, and much-maligned London Heathrow, which at 26 per cent also led the worst-airport rankings by a wide margin.

Interestingly, Pearson is also on both these lists, ranked third worst behind Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport, and sixth best behind Hong Kong, Sydney, Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol and Dubai.