Safety is one of the biggest concerns for most travelers at Toronto Pearson Airport—and the aviation safety officers are the ones working hard to ensure passengers and staff are out of harm's way.

Speaking with CTV News Toronto while on a ride-along last week, Aviation Safety Officer Mehdi Haghighat said that his job is to be proactive and “look for things that are safety sensitive."

“We try to mitigate them, we try to correct them, we report them,” Haghighat said.

Aviation safety

Aviation safety officers play a critical role at the airport. They patrol the airport keeping a watchful eye on all things related to safety, including the following:

Aircraft incidents: They standby for inbound aircraft declaring an emergency and aircraft situations while on the ground. Emergency situations could include damage, fuel spills and security. Officers also work closely with Toronto Pearson Fire on emergency calls.

Medicals: The officers attend to passengers or employees that require medical attention and work closely with Peel Regional Paramedics.

Security: The officers conduct primary security line checks and check the perimeter areas for breaches. They also ensure airport equipment is not parked or stored in non-designated areas, specifically near fences or aircraft movement areas. 

safety aviation

Foreign Object Debris: The officers keep an eye out for any items around the airfield that may cause damage to the aircrafts. This is especially vital on any surface an aircraft may travel on such as runways, taxiways or ramps.

Wildlife: Officers also report wildlife activity such as birds, deer or coyotes, to wildlife control.

Construction Site Inspections: The officers ensure security control by checking that all persons onsite possess proper permits and credentials.

safety aviation

Vehicle Enforcement: They ensure drivers are operating vehicles according to regulations. This includes speed and seat belt enforcement. The airport is federally regulated and the Ontario Highway Traffic Act does not apply to vehicles operating airside. Instead, Airport Vehicle Operators’ Permit regulations apply.

“What we do out here to ensure a safe environment, comes back to all our passengers to feel comfortable that they are traveling in an airport that has the utmost respect for safety,” Haghighat said.