Last updated: 04:29 PM ET, Sun July 05 2015

Toronto Pearson Returning to Normal After Fuel Provider Strike

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | July 05, 2015

Toronto Pearson Returning to Normal After Fuel Provider Strike

Photo via Twitter

Fueling a commercial airliner is just about at the top of the preflight checklist, but due to a labor dispute, Toronto Pearson International Airport lacked the personnel charged with completing this crucial step, resulting in delays and cancellations over the Fourth of July weekend, according to a Toronto Pearson press release.

Consolidated Aviation Fueling of Toronto — sole fuel supplier of the air carrier consortium operating at Pearson — and its union are at odds which resulted in what Air Canada called, “an illegal labor disruption.”

Almost 200 flights were already canceled when the Pearson release was issued on Friday, and Howard Eng, President and CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) explained why they got the ax. “In the interest of passenger safety and comfort, and after considerable effort to mitigate the disruption caused by the air carrier consortium’s contracted fuel service provider, we have been left with no option but to reduce flights into Toronto Pearson,” he said.

“We have been coordinating with the air carriers and have encouraged them to prioritize their flights. Our focus is to ensure those passengers currently impacted by this disruption are provided with necessities and receive regular updates on their flight status. We urge the air carrier consortium to work with their fuel service provider to address this situation immediately.”

Carriers were encouraged to consider fueling at other airports or at the next destination.

Looking after stranded fliers at Pearson, the GTAA increased employee presence in the terminals, and gave out water, diaper kits and other necessities throughout the day. Passengers were advised to contact their air carrier about their travel plans.

The Toronto Star received details about the dispute from Bill Trbovich, a spokesperson for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Trbovich said the issue is related to expected job losses as long-term contracts workers have with Consolidated Aviation end at both Pearson and Pierre-Elliott Trudeau Airport in Montreal in the fall.

As a new company takes over fueling duties, 250 of the 300 workers are to be given pink slips, Trbovich told the Star.

The union has argued, according to the Star, that they were forced to choose between a drastic pay cut and a deterioration of working conditions or losing their jobs.

By Sunday, though, normalcy returned, with Pearson tweeting (though adding a caveat), “Operations are running normally this morning. As always, please check your flight status with your airline or at ?”

Air Canada tweeted, “Operations have returned to normal @TorontoPearson. Have a good flight!"

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