Toronto Pearson has reopened Runway 06L/24R, its second-busiest runway, after eight months of refurbishment work.

The runway rehabilitation is is one of the largest projects in Pearson’s history. Planning began over a year-and-a-half ago, to ensure safety and minimal disruption for passengers and nearby communities. First built in the 1960s, the 3km runway needed to be fully reconstructed due to the wearing down of its concrete sub-structure by weather, use and time.

Federal transport minister Omar Alghabra joined Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) president and CEO Deborah Flint, along with local elected officials, GTAA teams responsible for the rehabilitation, and representatives from Dufferin Construction and Avia NG for a ribbon cutting to mark the re-opening. 

“It’s great to see the reopening of Runway 06L/24R after eight months of rehabilitation,” said Alghabra. “As the busiest airport in Canada and one of the busiest in North America, the return of this runway will keep air passengers moving safely and smoothly in and out of the Greater Toronto Area. As the air sector continues to move through post-pandemic recovery, investments like this one in our transportation infrastructure will help us ensure that we maintain a vibrant and competitive Canadian air sector.”

“This runway is more than a marvel of modern engineering, as amazing as it is,” said Ms. Flint. “It paves the way for the next 30 years of YYZ [Toronto Pearson] stimulating Canada’s economy by facilitating trade, foreign direct investment, tourism and business. This runway is more than a place where planes land and take off; it’s emblematic of a brighter future, both for Toronto Pearson and Canada through the global connections and economic activity it enables.

The refurbishment has extended the life of Runway 06L/24R by 30 years, the airport said. Concrete from the original runway was crushed and re-used for the new surface, 1,800 incandescent lights were upgraded to LED lights and an on-site batch plant was constructed, to reduce the need to transport concrete to the site, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: Greater Toronto Airports Authority