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Reimagining Airports through Research

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Toronto Pearson International Airport (TPIA) has been named, “Best Large Airport in North America,” for the past four years and earns the highest customer satisfaction scores for its size. This world-class hub ensures safety and traveler satisfaction by putting passengers first.

Research and data have moved the airport to improve security, baggage, and customs services. These improvements have helped unite the workforce, and its thousands of employees share common goals.

Before the Covid pandemic affected travel worldwide, Toronto Pearson International Airport was doing well. Seeing an opportunity to gather data and improve, the airport used the diminished airline traffic to experiment with promoting positive passenger experiences. The results would be implemented during pandemic times and into the future.

Becoming the Best in the World
In 2015, the airport had set a goal to offer world-class passenger service by addressing employee engagement, operations, and customer service. They wanted to become the best airport in the world.

In-Depth Interviews with Stakeholders
After primary research interviews with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), TPIA found that security screening is a complex process that requires several disparate organizations to collaborate. Further primary interviews with passengers revealed their desire to be informed throughout the security process, since it can be time-consuming, and may make passengers feel the process is out of their control.

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Implementation through Data

Using the research and data they collected TPIA implemented several steps. Detailed signage was placed at the security entrance to inform passengers of how much time remained to complete their security check. Additional signage prepared passengers   more quickly for the next steps and organizations in the process. Welcoming, positive phrases like, “Your safety is our most important concern” reassured them, while a comfortable post-security area allowed them to gather their belongings and proceed efficiently to their gates. Additional signage with approximate walking time to gates helped keep passengers informed as well.

Research Helped Find Vital Information

The improvements made by TPIA were directly related to the research and information gathered. TPIA wanted to find out what would make passengers more satisfied with the airport. They asked CATSA, TPIA employees, and passengers.

This initiative showed the importance of better integration between the several parties that come together to provide a vital service at the airport. By focusing on the passenger first, they identified, created, and implemented creative solutions that have generated improvements in passenger satisfaction. By continually questioning, testing, and refining its organization, Toronto Pearson International Airport sees its goal of being the Best Airport in The World becoming a reality.

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