In conversation with Deborah Flint, President of Greater Toronto Airport Authority

Posted: 1 February 2022 | | No comments yet

Watch this exclusive interview with Deborah Flint conducted at the ACI WAGA in November 2021.

*This video was recorded in November 2021, prior to the Omicron variant*

At the ACI WAGA 2021 in Cancun, International Airport Review Editor, Holly Miles, caught up with Deborah Flint, President of Greater Toronto Airports Authority, the operator of Toronto Pearson International Airport. Flint joined GTAA only a month before the pandemic struck, prior to this she was the CEO of Los Angeles World Airports. Toronto Pearson will finish 2021 on 20 per cent levels of 2019 traffic, the majority of which emerged in the last five months of 2021 and so Flint said she is looking to 2022 with more optimism. The bigger problem for them might be hyper growth and that even the most positive forecast may not be aggressive enough – which is a good problem to have said Flint.

The essence of man to connect, to travel and emigrate around the world will remain key to humankind”

Cargo will continue to play a strong role for the industry according to Flint, and she said that there is a great opportunity here for cargo specialists to modernise. We need to give passengers more certainty in air travel. She went on to say that at the moment the travel experience alone takes around one and a half hours in the airport for their passengers, which would increase to eight hours if their passenger numbers rose to 2019 levels.

Digitalising health requirements are front and central in GTAA’s priorities. Talking on the subject of sustainability, Toronto Pearson has reduced its carbon footprint by 60 per cent since 2006 and are striving for net zero on greenhouse gases by 2050. They have also signed onto the World Economic Forum Clean Skies initiative, which ensures a commitment to 10 per cent sustainable aviation fuel usage by 2030, which is a significant ambition for them. They believe themselves to be “stewards of the environment” and that all airports should see themselves as this too.

They also discussed her lessons learned from the pandemic. Flint said that the aviation business is all about people: “The essence of man to connect, to travel and emigrate around the world will remain key to humankind.” She says that the industry needs to remember that as leaders in the airport sector, the industry needs to look at how they are engaging and promoting wellness – both physical and mental – in their people and employees.