Air Transport World

Pearson girds for bigger things

Adele C. Schwartz writes regularly on airport issues and is an occasional contributor to ATW.

The airport is undergoing a multibillion-dollar expansion program to boost its presence as an international gateway

TORONTO--Just 22 months after it took over Lester B. Pearson International Airport from the Canadian government, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority will break ground next month for the first section of its new terminal complex, the centerpiece of a C$3.5 billion ($2.3 billion) program the authority's U.S.-born CEO believes will position it to become North America's busiest international gateway.

Other new facilities to be constructed on the 4,430acre property include two more runways, a new cargo area connected to the passenger terminal by an under-runway tunnel, parking garages and roads, and a C$45 million aircraft deicing center. When everything is finished, early in the next century, Pearson will be able to handle 50 million annual passengers comfortably on 130 gates.

As the new terminal is built, it will surround and devour the old Terminals 1 and 2. Eventually, it will reach Terminal 3, the C$520 million, 7-year-old Trillium Terminal, which will be torn down. "It's in the wrong place," Louis A. Turpen, president and CEO of the authority, says flatly. "T-3 will evaporate as we continue to expand the horseshoe" of the new building.

Canadian Airlines' general manager for Toronto Airport, Pat Neville, isn't convinced. Canadian is T-3's principal tenant. Acknowledging that Terminal 3 "may not be in the best spot," Neville thinks that when the phased construction of the new terminal reaches T-3's location, "we will need to establish whether the economics support knocking down a 20-year-old facility or whether it can be enhanced and improved."

Although Air Canada has spent nearly C$200 million in the past few years to upgrade its Terminal 2, L. C. Callaghan, the airline's general manager-airports, North America, agrees that replacement of that building is essential. …

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