Press release

Ms. Flint moderated “The continued climb of air cargo” as part of Airport’s Council International – North America’s 2021 Annual Conference and Exhibition  

November 8, 2021 

TORONTO, ONTARIO – Deborah Flint, President and CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), earlier today moderated a panel entitled “The continued climb of air cargo” during Airports Council International – North America’s (ACI-NA) 2021 Annual Conference and Exhibition. With the downturn in air travel during the pandemic, air cargo has played a starring role in many airports’ operations over the last 18 months, both from a revenue generation standpoint and by facilitating the movement of vital personal protective equipment, vaccines, perishable goods and more.  

Ms. Flint was joined by Amber Ritter, Chief Commercial Officer, Chicago Department of Aviation; Tom Ruth, President & CEO, Edmonton International Airport; Jim Szczesniak, Airport Director, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport; and David N. Edwards, Jr., President/CEO, Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District. Panelists discussed the opportunities to continue leveraging the air cargo revenue stream, attracting more cargo airline service and how airports can integrate cargo into their strategic plans. Participants also touched on air cargo’s role as a safety net in the supply chain, the importance of technology and innovation, and how airports’ sustainability efforts can be incorporated into cargo activities.  

“While many of us knew cargo was critically important, the COVID-19 pandemic really drove that home,” said Ms. Flint in her opening remarks. “Over the last 18 months, air cargo was a lifeline for society, delivering personal protection equipment and vaccines, as well as meeting the supply needs of businesses and the ‘wants’ of consumers.   

“We are in a time of great change and disruption,” she continued. “Global companies are rethinking their supply chains and how to ensure supply chain resiliency. At the same time, there is a boom in e-commerce, amplified by the pandemic but expected to retain much of its momentum going forward.” 

Ms. Flint also took time to frame the opportunities and challenges ahead: “Looking to the future, the short and long-term outlook is very positive. In 2021, IATA expects cargo demand to be 8% higher than 2019, rising further to 13.2% above 2019 levels in 2022. However, the cargo industry is also facing significant global supply-chain congestion, as well as throughput and staffing challenges at airports around the world including in the United States and Canada.”

Pre-pandemic, Toronto Pearson processed 40% of Canada’s air cargo and was rated in the top 30 airports worldwide for cargo activity. Over the first half of 2021, average daily cargo activity at Pearson more than doubled versus 2019, underscoring the continuing importance of air cargo at Pearson to local communities, the Province of Ontario and the nation at large. 

To learn more about the panel or ACI-NA’s 2021 Annual Conference and Exhibition, please visit its website. To learn more about Toronto Pearson, please visit  

About the Greater Toronto Airports Authority

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority is the operator of Toronto – Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Canada’s largest airport and a vital connector of people, businesses and goods. Toronto Pearson has been named “Best Large Airport in North America serving more than 40 million passengers” for four years in a row by Airports Council International (ACI), the global trade representative of the world’s airports. In recognition of its Healthy Airport program, ACI also awarded Toronto Pearson the “Best hygiene measures in North America” award, and Toronto Pearson was the first Canadian airport to receive ACI’s global health accreditation for its response to COVID-19.  

For more information, please visit Toronto Pearson on Twitter (English and French), Facebook or Instagram


GTAA Media Office | | (416) 776-3709  

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