Businessexcellence July 07 22 When it took over responsibility for the operations of Toronto Pearson International Airport, the strategic direction for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) was set by the desperate need to rebuild its facilities. Ten years on, president and CEO Dr Lloyd McCoomb tells Martin Ashcroft about the next phase of strategic development Reinvention With over 30 million passengers a year, Toronto Pearson International Airport is the busiest airport in Canada. When the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) was established in 1996, however, the facilities it inherited from the government were nothing less than deplorable. “They were in a dreadful state,” says president and CEO Dr. Lloyd McCoomb. The only modern building at the airport didn’t even belong to them, he laments. It belonged to a separate company, he explained, because it was constructed under a build/operate/transfer agreement, as the government was struggling with a $47 billion deficit at the time. “We took over two very old decrepit terminal buildings,” he says, “one built to an Aeroquay design back in the ’60s, which was hopeless in handling large modern aircraft or modern security needs. The second building was a bit of a lash up, a linear terminal building Photos by Elsa Mendes, courtesy of GTAA.
July 07 Businessexcellence Toronto Pearson International Airport 23 built in the early ’70s, with bits added on here and there, so whatever the original concept was had been lost.” That was also in desperate need of replacement, says McCoomb, and the airside also needed huge improvements. The new company soon found itself facing a $4.5 billion project to reinvent the airport. “That dominated the whole scheme from the day the corporation started on 2nd December 1996, until this past January,” says McCoomb. “That was when we opened the international part of the new terminal building.” That must have been a wonderful moment. “We could finally look at an airport we could be proud of,” he agrees, “that was an appropriate and welcoming front door to people visiting Toronto.” Organizing a ten year construction program, while keeping the airport operational at the same