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Cablegate: Toronto Airport Plans 56% Passenger Increase by 2020

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PP RUEHGA RUEHHA RUEHQU RUEHVC
DE RUEHON #0148/01 1341915
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 131915Z MAY 08
FM AMCONSUL TORONTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2488
INFO RUCNCAN/ALCAN COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHDC
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TORONTO 000148

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CPAS EAIR PBTS PREL CA
SUBJECT: Toronto Airport Plans 56% Passenger Increase by 2020


Sensitive But Unclassified - Please Protect Accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) has
expressed concern that staffing at U.S. Customs and Border
Protection (CBP) Preclearance in Toronto will endanger growth plans
at Pearson International Airport. GTAA officials complain that 62
new flights were recently denied access to U.S. CBP preclearance
facilities at Pearson. GTAA anticipates serving over 49 million
passengers a year by 2020, a 56% increase over 2006 total passenger
volumes of about 31 million passengers. To handle the anticipated
passenger growth, GTAA plans to add a sixth (and final) runway, use
the currently moth-balled Infield Terminal to which passengers must
be bussed, and further expand the new Terminal 1. GTAA officials
plan to move U.S. CBP preclearance facilities in Terminal 1 to a new
location that would put U.S. officials behind airport security
screening, significantly improving their safety. GTAA is not
considering a similar renovation for U.S. CBP preclearance
operations in the older Terminal 3 in the next few years. U.S. CBP
has suggested GTAA encourage airlines to schedule new U.S.-bound
flights during non-peak hours to increase the likelihood of access
to preclearance services. GTAA officials and Canadian airline
executives hope the U.S. government will provide additional manpower
to the U.S. CBP Toronto Pearson Preclearance facility to accommodate
the growing passenger loads heading across the border to the U.S.
End Summary.

2. (SBU) GTAA President and CEO Lloyd McCoomb expressed concern to
Consul General Nay on April 17 that inadequate staffing at U.S. CBP
Preclearance in Toronto is endangering growth plans by Canadian
airlines and the GTAA. McCoomb observed that passengers on
U.S.-bound flights that cannot be cleared by U.S. CBP in Toronto
have to be cleared on arrival in the U.S. Some of these flights, he
said, are heading to destinations with very small or remote CBP
presences.

3. (SBU) GTAA officials complained that U.S. CBP was unable to
provide preclearance services to 62 flights coming out of Pearson
Airport's older Terminal 3 at Pearson International Airport. We
later learned that these flights were all scheduled to depart during
peak departure time to the U.S. Toronto CBP Preclearance officials
noted that they could have handled the passengers from these flights
if they had been rescheduled to depart at other than peak U.S.
departure times. The flights included:

--Canjet Flt#970 Saturday service to St. Petersburg, FL at 08:30
from April 5-May 17 with a B737 -- 7 flights with 132 seats each
denied.

--Skyservice Flt #505 Friday service to Orlando, FL at 07:00 from
May 2-Sept. 12 with a B752 -- 20 flights with 216 seats each denied.


--Skyservice Flt #505 Saturday service to Orlando, FL at 07:45 from
May 3-Oct. 25 with a B752 -- 26 flights with 216 seats each denied.


--Air Transat Flt#506 Sunday service to Orlando at 06:25 on March 30
with a A313 -- 1 flight with 260 seats denied.

--Air Transat Flt#506 Sunday service to Orlando at 13:55 on April
6-April 27 with a A313 -- 4 flights with 260 seats each denied.

--Air Transat Flt#758 Friday service to Fort Lauderdale at 06:25 on
April 4-April 25 with a A332 -- 4 flights with 362 seats each
denied.

4. (SBU) GTAA anticipates serving over 49 million passengers a year
by 2020, a 56% increase over 2006 total passenger volumes of about
31 million passengers. GTAA estimates that the number of
transborder passengers will increase 64% from 8.9 million in 2006 to
about 14.6 million in 2020. The number of international passengers
is expected to grow 75% to 15 million in 2020, while the number of
domestic passengers will grow a more modest 44% to 19.4 million in
the same year.

5. (SBU) GTAA officials say they have discussed their long-term
growth plans (available at www.gtaa.com/en/gtaa_corporate/
publications/master_plan/) with Toronto-based U.S. CBP officials.
To handle the anticipated passenger growth, GTAA plans to add a
sixth (and final) runway, use the currently moth-balled Infield
Terminal to which passengers must be bussed, and further expand the
new Terminal 1.

6. (SBU) McCoomb said GTAA plans to move U.S. CBP preclearance
facilities in Terminal 1 to a new location that would put U.S.
officials behind airport security screening, significantly improving
their safety. U.S.-bound passengers currently check in with
airlines, then clear U.S. Customs while still carrying their
baggage. After leaving customs, passengers drop their bags and then

TORONTO 00000148 002 OF 002


clear airport security before proceeding to the gate area for their
flight. McCoomb said the GTAA has finished the concept definition
of the project, is moving to the design development stage, and is on
track to move U.S. CBP to the new location in about five years. The
new facility will enable passengers to check their luggage and be
screened by airport security before proceeding through the U.S. CBP
preclearance facility. Passenger bags will be electronically
photographed and tracked and will be retrievable should a U.S. CBP
inspector wish to inspect the baggage before admitting a passenger.
McCoomb admitted that a similar renovation for U.S. CBP preclearance
operations in Terminal 3 is not anticipated in anytime soon (i.e.
well beyond the five year planning horizon).

7. (SBU) Comment: U.S. CBP officials are encouraging Toronto-based
airlines to continue to apply for preclearance services for new
flights and plans to service new flights whenever possible. U.S.
CBP has suggested the GTAA promote the scheduling of new U.S.-bound
flights during non-peak hours to increase the likelihood of
approval. GTAA officials and Canadian airline executives hope the
U.S. government will also provide additional manpower to the Toronto
Pearson Preclearance facility to accommodate the growing passenger
loads heading across the border to the U.S. The fact that CBP has
been unable to provide pre-clearance to U.S.-bound flights departing
during peak hours raises serious concerns for the GTAA and affected
air carriers, given their growth projections. They hope that
trusted traveler programs like NEXUS will help increase U.S. CBP
capacity, and recognize that more diffuse departure times will help,
but believe that additional U.S. official manpower will be required
to manage the growing passenger loads. End Comment.

NAY

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