Pearson Airport Warns Travellers Ahead Of Busy March Break & It's Already Had A Rough Start

A winter weather travel advisory is in effect. ❄️

A traveller walking through the terminal at Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ).

A traveller walking through the terminal at Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ).

Toronto Pearson Airport is heading into March break anticipating some of its highest passenger volumes since before the pandemic, in 2019.

But as Canada's largest airport prepares for its second busiest time of the year, the weather is providing some added challenges and could leave some flights out of Pearson Airport delayed or cancelled.

Weather aside, some 125,000 passengers are expected to travel through Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) per day, over the course of its busiest weekend from March 10 to 12.

"That's just about approximately 85% of pre-pandemic volume," said Rachel Bertone, the Senior Advisor of Communications and Media Relations at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), in an interview with Narcity. "Really, it's one of the second busiest times of the year for us."

The daily tally of 125,000 travellers per day is also quite the jump from last year's estimation of 85,000.

Of course, the typical advice for travellers applies — arrive at the airport early, plan ahead, and take advantage of some of the online tools that can help you breeze through airport security and U.S. customs a bit faster.

You can also check out our list of six changes at Pearson Airport that you should know about before travelling in March, which can also help make your life a lot easier.

However, the weather doesn't help with this whatsoever.

Toronto and much of southern Ontario are under a winter weather travel advisory Friday, which warns of between four and eight centimetres of snow that's set to fall throughout most of the afternoon, just as most travellers hope to take off for their vacations.

According to Environment Canada, Friday's winter storm will affect the evening commute and hazardous conditions should be expected.

Pearson Airport issued a warning to travellers about the weather conditions in a Tweet early Friday, advising passengers to, "as always, check your flight status with your airline before leaving for the airport."

Air Canada has also issued a travel alert for its passengers in its daily travel outlook, which allows people to make changes to their flights without any fees.

With the weather and added passenger volume added up together, Pearson Airport is set to face its first big test of 2023, following some viral passenger disasters over the Christmas travel season late last year, headlined particularly by baggage challenges.

"We obviously have learned from the things that have happened in December and we put contingencies in place," Bertone told Narcity. "What had happened in terminal three was the extreme cold and the air gusts had froze some of the motors which caused intermittent stoppage or intermittent breaks of the conveyor belt. So, we've put contingencies in place so that that does not happen again and we've been happy to report that that has not happened again."

Since its 2022 holiday mishaps, Pearson Airport has hired an outside firm to perform a baggage system health check, which is set to be completed by spring 2023.

On top of that, the airport has also limited the number of flights that can take off or land during peak hours of the day in hopes that will further limit flight delays and cancellations.

Here's hoping all of these changes can make your airport experience a bit smoother if you're travelling this March break!

Stuart McGinn
Stuart McGinn was the Money Editor for Narcity Media and focused mainly on covering topics ranging from personal finance, to real estate, and careers. Stuart is from Ottawa and is now based in Toronto.