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A passenger-first strategy at the heart of Toronto Pearson

Among the 50.5 million passengers welcomed in 2019, Toronto Pearson International Airport saw approximately 1.1 million passengers with disabilities. Kurush Minocher, Director of Passenger Programmes and Marketing Communications at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, speaks to International Airport Review about how the airport’s new approach is ensuring that all of its travellers have the gift of choice in their journey.

With an annualised growth of 15 per cent in persons with disabilities travelling through Toronto Pearson pre-COVID-19 pandemic, the airport needed a new and inclusive approach to ensure all travellers could participate in and enjoy the exhilaration of air travel and everything associated with it, including reuniting with friends and family, and experiencing new destinations.

Putting our mission into action

For years, the approach was to problem-solve for the passenger as issues surfaced. Embracing our vision of becoming the best airport in the world and with our mission statement in mind, ‘Passengers are our passion,’ Toronto Pearson embarked on a new approach starting in 2018. The multi-pronged approach included putting the passenger at the centre of all we do, understanding their needs by proactively working directly with advocacy groups for persons with disabilities and designing solutions – not just solving problems. We realised early on that if you get it right for passengers with different abilities, the benefits can extend to all travellers at Toronto Pearson.

This approach would provide travellers with the ability to choose how they wanted to move through the airport, whether independently or with the assistance of their airline’s personnel. This collaborative effort focused on providing passengers with options and was a key mindset shift for an airport that had typically focused on airline-assisted services for many years.

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