03/09/2012 11:12 EST | Updated 05/09/2012 05:12 EDT

Pearson airport busy as March Break exodus begins

Travellers flying out of Toronto’s Pearson airport endured long lines as March Break — a rite of spring for many Canadians keen to escape the cold — got underway Friday.

On a typical day Canada’s busiest airport handles about 90,000 passengers, but more than 120,000 will move through the airport on Friday, the typical getaway day for March Break passengers.

CBC’s Melanie Nagy at Pearson International Airport reported travellers were in a buoyant mood despite long lines at check-in counters.

In order to keep young travellers entertained as they wait, the airport is offering family-friendly entertainment at Terminal 1 post-security, near gate D20.

“Their spirits were good, they were heading off to sunny destinations like Cuba, California, Mexico,” Nagy reported. “Planes have been taking off one after another.”

Spirits were also raised that a possible work stoppage at Air Canada has been averted.

The airline was preparing to lock out its pilots and ground staff had threatened to strike starting on Monday, but the federal government called in the Industrial Relations Board to investigate.

That decision means a strike or lockout now won’t happen over March Break while the investigation continues.

On its website, Air Canada said that there will be no disruption of service and that its full schedule remains unchanged.

“People heading out today on Air Canada were quite happy,” Nagy reported. “They’re heading off to enjoy their vacation and have a good time on March Break.”