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July 07 Businessexcellence 31 was coming for international, but we had to make signifi cant changes to introduce it for domestic.” If it had been a fi xed price contract with one contractor, he points out, it would have been very awkward, “but by managing it ourselves we could absorb the shock more easily.” McCoomb described Toronto earlier as the gateway to North America, and I wonder if its position, so close to the US, is an advantage or a disadvantage. It turns out to have elements of both. On the plus side, “we are one of the leading entry points into North America,” he says. “I think we’re third or fourth in terms of international passengers.” But, he goes on, that means that Pearson has to provide, free of charge, not only the inspection facilities for the Canadian government to handle international passengers, but the same for the United States government, too. “We are the largest pre-clearance facility in the world, by a factor of two, staffed by United States Customs and Border Protection offi cers.” McCoomb gets upset, he admits, when ill informed individuals compare Pearson with airports like Atlanta in terms of effi ciency. “We have almost 60 percent international passengers here,” he says, “and I think Atlanta has around nine percent. We provide all that space free, which doesn’t have to be provided in places like Atlanta.” Although there are elements of both in its geography, McCoomb sees more blessing than curse. “We are delighted that we are a major turning point,” he says, “and we believe we will probably see more traffi c growth here. One of the great things about the new terminal was that we were able to design it to facilitate that. We’re working towards the day when an international passenger can make a transition to another international fl ight without the hassle of having to go through Canadian Immigration and Customs.” About a quarter of Pearson’s passengers currently travel to and from the United States. “While it does make for a more complex and expensive airport, it’s a small price to pay for the accessibility that our service provides to southern Ontario.” Apart from its central position, McCoomb boasts that the weather is quite good, “and because we are Canadians, our deicing and snow fi ghting operations are the best in the world. We don’t close.” Having improved its infrastructure to the extent that it can now serve the needs of the modern air passenger, Toronto Pearson can turn its attention to satisfying its customers in more sophisticated ways. Innovation and continuous improvement are now on the agenda, but can this be done as effectively in a service industry, as it has been in manufacturing, for instance? “I don’t see why not,” says McCoomb. “There’s always room for improvement; you have to strive for that and I think it’s a must.” Toronto Pearson International Airport As construction manager for the $2-billion new terminal development at Toronto Pearson International Airport, the PCL/Aecon Joint Venture understands what it takes to create worldclass airports because, collectively, we have been doing it for almost two centuries. The PCL/Aecon Joint Venture is a strategic partnership between PCL Constructors Canada Inc. and Aecon Buildings, who bring individual expertise to this project from involvement in the design and construction of more than 200 airport projects, in every phase of airport development - design, construction, commissioning - and contract type. This partnership created synergy that allowed us to deliver one of Canada’s largest construction projects to the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), on time and on budget - all while working within an operating airport environment. The PCL/Aecon Joint Venture has “earned our wings”, delivering an award-winning airport to the GTAA. PCL/Aecon