[MONTREAL] More than 200 flights were canceled and hundreds of others delayed to and from Toronto's largest airport on Friday after staff responsible for refueling planes suddenly went on strike.
There were chaotic scenes at terminals and boarding counters at Toronto Pearson International Airport, with some of the delays for several hours or more, causing travel misery for many.
"Toronto Pearson International Airport continues to experience operational disruptions due to ongoing issues with the air carrier consortium's fuel service provider," an airport statement said.
"As the fuel service provider experiences escalating labor shortages, aircraft movements have been significantly impacted - as of 5:00 pm (2100 GMT), 185 flights have been canceled." The airport's website showed more than 30 additional cancellations after that.
Some workers with Consolidated Aviation Fueling of Toronto unexpectedly took the day off in protest at a decision by an airline consortium to cut ties with it.
Howard Eng, president and CEO of Greater Toronto Airports Authority, urged the two sides to find a compromise.
"Our focus is to ensure those passengers currently impacted by this disruption are provided with necessities and receive regular updates on their flight status," said Mr Eng.
"We urge the air carrier consortium to work with their fuel service provider to address this situation immediately." International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said in a statement: "An airline consortium led by Air Canada and West Jet will not renew its agreement with Consolidated Aviation to supply fuel at both Pearson in Toronto and Trudeau International in Montreal.
"The consortium has already signed agreements with other fueling providers resulting in more than 300 IAM members losing their jobs."