Pearson Airport in Mississauga reclaims top spot in Canada for most takeoffs and landings


Published April 11, 2023 at 11:05 am

After two consecutive years of not being the busiest airport in Canada for the first time, at least by one measure, Pearson Airport in Mississauga has reclaimed the top spot.

Having seen its number of aircraft movements (takeoffs and landings) dip significantly in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related air travel restrictions (see table below), Pearson recorded a strong rebound in 2022 to once again place first among the country’s airports.

According to Statistics Canada, the number of aircraft movements at Canada’s largest and busiest airport nearly doubled last year compared to both 2021 and 2020, rising to 338,577 takeoffs/landings (174,138 in 2021, 175,060 in 2020).

The easing and elimination of pandemic-related restrictions on air travel that took hold starting in early 2022 have vaulted Pearson’s air traffic numbers back into familiar territory.

However, aircraft movements in 2022 (338,577) at the Mississauga-based airport still didn’t match the numbers from 2019, before the pandemic struck, when 455,107 takeoffs/landings were recorded.

Source: Statistics Canada

Placing second to Pearson Airport in number of aircraft movements in 2022 was Vancouver International Airport, with 261,331, while the much smaller Boundary Bay Airport in southern British Columbia was third, with 201,413 (majority are shorter, local trips).

It was Boundary Bay that knocked Pearson Airport from top spot and into second place in both 2020 and 2021. Boundary Bay is a municipally-owned general aviation airport in Delta, B.C., south of Vancouver. It opened as a flight training centre during World War II. 

After leading the country in number of aircraft movements for 38 straight years, Pearson dropped to second place in 2020 and again in 2021, trailing the seemingly unlikely Boundary Bay.

The culprit at Pearson was the pandemic, which dramatically impacted the number of people travelling by air in 2020 and 2021.

Smaller airports, though, such as Boundary Bay, experienced more moderate declines in passenger numbers. So, aircraft movements there weren’t impacted as severely.

While Pearson did drop from top spot in terms of aircraft movements in 2020 and 2021, it consistently retained its title as Canada’s busiest airport with respect to number of passengers served.

In 2021, Pearson again served more travellers (12.7 million) than any other Canadian airport, though that number was still dramatically lower than pre-pandemic marks.

Pearson rebounded dramatically in 2022 on that front, serving 35.6 million passengers to again lead all Canadian airports.

Source: Statistics Canada


INsauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising