Archived Newsletters

June 2023

Air Canada Opening New, Updating Domestic and International Lounges

Air Canada has revealed plans to open four new lounges and refresh its existing Maple Leaf Lounges.

The airline said it hopes to match the quality of its in-flight service with the ground experience, recognizing the increasing demand for lounges as airports become more crowded.

Air Canada plans to increase seating capacity by an average of 30% in domestic Maple Leaf Lounges in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, and Toronto's Signature Suite. The lounges will cater to eligible customers, such as business class passengers, elite travellers, and premium credit card holders.

Additionally, the airline said it will renovate and expand hub lounges across Canada over a three-year period. International lounges, including London Heathrow, will eventually undergo upgrades to align with a new design standard.

Air Canada will also introduce a new lounge concept in Toronto, which will serve as a trial for potential expansion. The details of this new model have not been disclosed yet, but it is expected to open in the summer of 2023 and will offer seating for 133 travellers, a buffet, grab-and-go facilities, a bar, meeting rooms, and WiFi.

In addition, a new Maple Leaf Lounge will open in San Francisco T2 in late June 2023, featuring outdoor space, a dining facility, and a bar.  



The busy summer travel season is coming. Is Toronto Pearson airport (YYZ) ready for the rush?

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) has unveiled some new measures to support a seamless passenger experience this summer.

Digital innovations + staffing

In response to last summer’s challenges, Pearson has implemented technological upgrades, and staffing increases to enhance efficiency.

The airport has fast-tracked its modernization plans by investing in technologies, many of which have already been implemented.

  • This includes self-service infrastructure:
  • Contactless check-in and boarding processes;
  • A new partnership with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to deploy biometric e-gates, expediting customs clearance for travellers;
  • New digital technology at check-in, gates and baggage areas to replace the current generation of self-service tech as it nears the end of its life.
  • YYZ Express: Expanding hours for pre-booking spaces in security lines and putting it into service at every security screening point.
  • Digital mapping: Deploying enhanced digital mapping tools to empower travellers with better information as they navigate the terminals.

Baggage - An upgraded baggage system featuring AI that anticipates overloading and detects potential breakdowns before they occur.

Staffing -  Bolstering staffing in critical areas such as bussing, baggage handling, and terminal operations. 

Real-time analysis - Deploying a new customer-experience platform and dashboard that will provide real-time analysis and insights on key customer sentiment metrics. This aims to give staff better insights, flag issues for airline partners and address service issues faster.

Real-time confidence -  Installing new sensors and pulling screening data to post wait times for all checkpoints in the terminal and on their website. This will give passengers better live information and a clear understanding of what to expect.

Slot assignments -  Managing the volume of flights coming into Toronto Pearson with partners on an hourly basis to ensure that the airport ecosystem is capable of receiving and processing these incoming passengers in a timely and efficient way.

On-time performance -  Meeting with airlines and their ground handlers and monitoring performance in areas such as check-in, baggage delivery, gate holds, no-crew events and overall staffing levels.

Aircraft parking -  Limiting non-authorized aircraft parking beyond 12 hours. More availability will mean fewer arrival gate holds, better on-time performance and increased resilience in irregular operations.

The GTAA says the enhancements have “already yielded tangible results,” significantly improving the passenger experience.



Ottawa Launching New "Verified Traveller" Program For Hassle-Free Security Line-Ups

The Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, announced on May 23, that the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) will be launching a new Verified Traveller program at select airports across Canada.

The new Verified Traveller program will replace the current Trusted Traveller program, and will provide eligible travellers with benefits at security screening checkpoints including keeping laptops, large electronics and compliant liquids and gels in their carry-on, and keeping their shoes, belt and light jacket on.

This new Verified Traveller is great news as we enter another busy travel season. It will help improve the security screening process for eligible travellers at select airports across Canada.

By June 21, 2023, dedicated Verified Traveller screening lines will be available at select domestic and international checkpoints in the following airports:

  • Vancouver International Airport
  • Edmonton International Airport
  • Calgary International Airport
  • Winnipeg International Airport
  • Toronto-Pearson International Airport T1 and T3
  • Montreal-Trudeau International Airport

Eligible travellers include:

  • Members of NEXUS and Global Entry;
  • Active members of the Canadian Armed Forces and US military, including reservists, with valid ID;
  • Canadian aircrew and airport workers with Restricted Area Identification Cards;
  • International aircrew (in uniform) with valid airline ID; and
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers, Canadian police officers and constables with a badge and proper photo identification issued by their respective organizations.

The Verified Traveller program allows children who are 17 years of age and younger, and adults who are 75 years of age and older, to accompany verified travellers through security, provided they are on the same reservation.

Several airports will also offer verified travellers with front-of-the-line service and additional benefits at transborder checkpoints (flights to the U.S.).

More information is available on CATSA’s website.