TORONTO -- Toronto Pearson International Airport is getting ready for the post-shutdown future with the help of robots and new restrictions that will change that way we think of airports.

For months now, the global COVID-19 pandemic has grounded airlines around the world turning once-bustling airports into eerily quiet spaces where few venture.

But Toronto’s largest airport launched its future plan on Tuesday as the economy gradually reopens and lives slowly return back to a new normal.

“Many months ago we recognized there was going to be a dramatic change [to] our operations and focus on health and safety,” Greater Toronto Airports Authority President Deborah Flint told CTV News Toronto.

Fogging machine

“The changes that we are sharing with the public today have been months in the making and are dramatic across the entire airport footprint.”

“Even on the other side of this pandemic, whenever it may be, healthy airports, pandemic preparedness and response is going to be a way of life for many, many decades to come.”

Before the pandemic, 130,000 people per day were going through the airport but that number went down to 2,000 per day during the height of the pandemic, Flint said.

“Today, we are seeing far less passengers then we ever have, although I will say, interestingly enough, we are starting to see a significant uptick in the number of passengers that are travelling … we are now seeing about 8,000 [people per day].

Autonomous Cleaner (CNW Group/Greater Toronto Airp

Here is what you can expect next time you head to the airport:

  • Passengers and employees will be required to wear a mask.
  • Team of “healthy airport specialists” will go around the terminals to ensure that look for issues and “deploy rapid response when they see them."
  • Disinfection will be focused on high-traffic areas, including escalators, moving walkways, handrails, stairways, baggage carts and kiosks. 
  • Temperature checks will be carried out for all passengers travelling into Canada by July 9 and all departing passengers by late July.
  • Information on COVID-19 updates will be shared via in-terminal digital screens, signs, public announcements, and Twitter.
  • New filters will be in place to allow for “more filtered air and increased flow.”
  • Plexiglass installations will be used in more than 80 locations and for taxis and limos.


  • Touchless technology will be used in kiosks, elevators and bag drops.
  • The airport will have a log of COVID-19 cases within the workforce.
  • Virtual customer service officers will help passengers when needed.
  • Six robotic floor cleans will move about the airport to disinfect.
  • Air quality monitoring stations will be set up inside both terminals.
  • Only those travelling and working can be inside the airport terminals so goodbyes and pickups will need to done outside.
  • In the baggage claim area, people will be able to walk through an eco-friendly “sanitizing mist” that will help disinfect you as you leave the airport. Flint says, “It’s cool, it’s neat and it’s pleasurable.”