Major delays for thousands at Pearson after passengers mistakenly allowed through wrong door

Thousands of passengers at Pearson International Airport were faced with major delays on Thursday morning after an apparent mistake by an airline staff member.

The Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) confirms the disruption was caused by a ground handler contracted to an airline who directed passengers arriving on a domestic flight to an area designated for screened travellers.

GTAA spokesperson Sean Davidson tells CityNews the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) needed to screen the misguided travellers once they were mixed in with passengers who were already in the transborder area of the terminal.

“It’s not as simple as just saying lets keep going,” Davidson says. “Unfortunately thousands of passengers were affected this morning.”

In a post to X at 8:30 a.m., the airport said travellers at Terminal 1 transborder were being held due to the issue. A number of photos posted to social media showed hundreds of passengers waiting in the terminal.

Davidson says several flights heading to the U.S. needed to be held to ensure passengers were directed into to the right areas. He says the airport was going back to regular screening and slowly resuming operations with “heightened security” as of 10:15 a.m.

An aviation source tells CityNews it was a Lynx Air flight and a contracted ground worker who guided passengers into the wrong area. An unconfirmed tip to CityNews claims passengers from a Calgary flight were the ones mistakenly allowed into the restricted area.

The airline says they are working with the GTAA and a ground handling company to investigate what exactly occurred.

“We work with a separate ground services operator that is accountable for gate services once our aircraft lands,” reads a statement from Lynx Air.

Domestic flights in Terminal 1 and all gates at Terminal 3 were unaffected during the disruption.

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