NEWS

Pearson airport delays: What you need to know

01/07/2014 07:00 EST | Updated 03/09/2014 05:59 EDT
Toronto's Pearson International Airport is under a ground stop order, meaning no new flights can land until 9 a.m. ET.

Here are more details about the problem that is making many travellers irate at the largest and busiest airport in Canada:

What is causing this problem? In general it appears to be a backlog processing incoming flights, caused by today's –21 C weather. The airport authority issued a Tweet just after 7 a.m. saying the extreme cold is causing "equipment freezing and safety issues for employees."

It appears there are more planes on the ground than there are gates where they can park, creating a large backlog. CBC News has been gathering reports from passengers who have waited on flights sitting on the tarmac for hours after they land. When passengers finally get inside the airport, there are long waits for luggage to arrive at the carousels.  As a result, the airport has issued a ground stop order.

What is a ground stop? Essentially, it means no new flights are permitted to land at Pearson until 9 a.m. ET.

Where can passengers get information?  WestJet issued a press release  about the delays. You can check your WestJet flight status here.

So far, Air Canada has not issued a press release about Tuesday's problems, but there is information about flights delays here and a flight status tool here .

How's the scene at the airport? Not good, and it appears to be getting worse. CBC Radio's Metro Morning interviewed John McLean, whose Air Canada flight from Sarasota, Fla., landed at 11:30 p.m. on Monday night. He didn't get off the plane until 4 a.m. Tuesday and arrived at the luggage carousel to find "hundreds" of people waiting for their belongings with no staff to provide updates. Also, there was plenty of unclaimed luggage on the floor. "Nobody seemed to know what's happening," he told Metro Morning host Matt Galloway. "What was frustrating was a lack of information," something a lot of passengers are complaining about.

What's the mood of passengers? At best, testy and tired; at worst, outraged.. Police have been called to the airport to deal with irate passengers. One passenger commented there were more police at the airport than airport staff to help with the delays.

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