Vijay Kanwar, Chairman of the Board at Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) talked to Can-India about Pearson airport’s two tier role in facilitating air connectivity as well as Canada’s economic growth in local, national, and international markets. Here are excerpts of the interview.
How does Pearson compare to other major hubs like London’s Heathrow, New York’s JFK International Airport, or Hong Kong International Airport?
Toronto Pearson, like New York’s JFK, London’s Heathrow, and Hong Kong International Airport, is one of a small number of Global Hub Airports. It does more than connect passengers to locations around the world – it powers international trade, opens up countless opportunities, and facilitates economic growth. We are constantly reviewing what’s happening with other airports around the world, considering best practices and continuing to evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of those Toronto Pearson serves.
Are there any planned initiatives to take Pearson to the next level?
At Toronto Pearson, we’re already planning far into the future. By 2030, we expect to support 478,000 employees – an increase of 21,000 jobs – and contribute $62.1 billion, or seven per cent, to Ontario’s GDP, which is an increase of $3.5 billion.
Are there any expanded offerings in terms of service in the near future?
Our passengers wanted a wider selection of retail, improved duty free, and more variety of quality dining options. In recent years, we have focused heavily on improving our facilities, heightening our restaurant offering with new chef-inspired restaurants including Twist by Roger Mooking and Caplansky’s Deli and adding a range of high-end retail stores, including Michael Kors, Burberry, and Victoria’s Secret. We take the passenger experience very seriously.
Some reports say Pearson’s landing fees are the highest in the world. Is this true? What are the reasons for this and how can this change?
Over the past several years, Toronto Pearson has pursued effective ways to reduce our fees. For instance, between 2007 and 2011 we were able to reduce cargo fees by a total of 45 per cent. We have also frozen our landing fees to passenger airlines for a three year period.
As a global hub, we know the importance of competitive rates and charges and we take pains to keep them as low as possible without sacrificing our standard of operations.