TORONTO — Holiday travellers are still facing delays and lineups at Toronto’s Pearson Airport today as security is tightened in the wake of a failed Christmas Day terrorist attack in Detroit.
Passengers are being allowed just one small carry-on bag and facing body patdowns at customs.
Extra RCMP officers are also being called in to help with security and customs screening.
Still, officials say things are running more smoothly today as Air Canada is consolidating some flights to ease the crunch.
But don’t expect the extra security measures to be lifted soon.
Trish Krale of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority says she doesn’t expect the measures to be lifted “for at least several days.”
Lengthy lineups have snaked through the airport since the failed attack Friday by a suspect identified as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, of Nigeria.
He was charged Saturday with trying to blow up the Northwest Airlines flight as the plane approached Detroit by igniting an explosive substance hidden in his pants.
The attempted terrorist attack prompted authorities to add new layers of security on top of measures adopted after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The added security included additional searches of passengers and carry-on bags prior to boarding and just one carry-on piece per passenger.
U.S.-bound travellers still face long lineups and some delays at Pearson’s Terminal 1 today but the crunch is easing.
An Air Canada sales and service agent says the wait to check in baggage and passengers is about a half-hour.
“We are getting the people checked in on time” said Lincoln Sivasanmugam, but he could not say what was happening once travellers got inside to U.S. customs.
“We keep on moving but the hiccup is inside,” he said.
New security measures include only one carry-on bag with a restricted size, no wheeled bags and patdowns at customs.
While some passengers knew about the new security rules, others had to stop and re-pack their bags or even buy new luggage at the airport.
Air Canada is also being held to strict landing times by U.S. airports.
In order to meet those deadlines, flights must leave exactly on time or be cancelled.
“If we miss the slot time there is no point in us leaving … you gotta be there on time. If not, they don’t want us,” said Sivasanmugam as he called passengers for their flights.