Security incident at Toronto’s Pearson airport temporarily delays flights to U.S.

Flights to the U.S. from Terminal 1 at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport were temporarily delayed early Saturday due to a security incident, the airport says.

Robin Smith, media spokesperson for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, said the “containment breach” affected Terminal 1 flights to the U.S. for about 45 minutes. Passenger processing was paused and planes were delayed from leaving, he said. The incident occurred on the departures level, he said.

Smith said the problem began at about 9 a.m. but was resolved by about 9:45 a.m., and regular operations have resumed.

According to Peel Regional Police, which maintains an airport division, three people were not completely screened at U.S. customs and officers had to locate the three. They were found at about 9:45 a.m.

People were screened and are now on their way

Const. Iryna Yashnyk, spokesperson for Peel Regional Police, said on Saturday that the incident wasn’t considered suspicious and there were no public safety issues.

“The people were located, they were screened, and they are now on their way with no incident,” she said. “It is believed to be a misunderstanding. So no charges, no issues.”

Flights to the U.S. at Terminal 3 were unaffected.

In a tweet, Toronto Pearson said: “We apologize for the delay and appreciate your patience.”

Passenger safety was never at risk, Smith said.

“Broadly speaking, I can tell you that, if you look at an airport terminal, any passenger that gets into the secure side does need to be screened and they do need to be inspected. If you are travelling to the United States, you need to be cleared by U.S. customs, so the secure side is a contained, sterile area,” Smith said.

“We just need to maintain the integrity of that space at all times. There was a containment breach, which in this case would threaten the containment of that space.”

Smith was unable to say how many passengers were affected and how many flights were delayed in departing. He declined to provide more details, saying the incident involved Pearson’s “security response.”

He described the incident as a “pretty minor blip.”

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