Toronto Pearson International Airport

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Continent: North America Country: Canada Region: Ontario
Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport
Location Toronto, Ontario
Airport type Commercial
Overview map Google Maps
Tower 118.350, 118.700
Ground 121.650 (north)
121.900 (south)
119.100 (center)
Approach 132.800 (Main Arr), 124.475 (Secondary Arr), 125.400
Departure128.800 (Main Dep - South Dep), 127.575 (Secondary Dep - North Dep)
ATIS 120.825 (primary)
133.100 (secondary)
Plane Spotting Hotels guide

Toronto Pearson is Canada's busiest commercial airport. Air Canada is the dominant airline together with its regional subsidiary Air Canada Jazz. The airport is located West of the City in Mississauga and can be accessed from several major highways (401, 410 and 409) and there is a coach link from the downtown area. At present there is no rail link from Toronto to the airport.

The airport has 3 parallel East/West runways (23,24L,24R and 05,06L,06R) as well as two parallel North/South runways (33L,33R and 15L,15R). There are three terminals, most International flights operate from Terminal 3, with Air Canada using Terminals 1 and 2. Major International airlines using Toronto Pearson include British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Air France, Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, United, Continental, Northwest and Delta.

The airport can be quite slow at times and movements are dominated by A319/320s and Embraer and Canadair Regional Jets. There are numerous good spotting/photo locations and hassle from the Police is very rare (But not unheard of - especially when El Al flights are due in or out).

Official Spotting Locations

Terminal 1

Note there is no "official" spotting area at YYZ, it is tolerated in some places within the airport. There is a smoking area on the departures level roadway with views over the AC Jazz Dash 8 and CRJ ramp. The light is best for photography in the mornings.

Other Spotting Locations

FedEx Hill

As of October 2010, this point is still accessable, but the old "hill" has been removed. Parking and viewing is still possible on Bramelea Road. With a "thin" lens (52 mm) it is still possible to take good pictures through the fence of arriving and departing aircraft - best time in the afternoon after 4 p.m. Also good pictures possible of all aircraft parked on the FedEx-ramp.

This location is best for all runway 23/05 spotting

From Hwy 427 North/South take Derry Rd. exit and head west at the intersection. Follow Derry Rd. for approximately 5 kms past the Connie Restaurant. FedEx is at the next light at Bramalea Rd. Turn left on Bramalea and follow the road to the end. The location is on the right.

From Hwy 407 East/West take the Bramalea Rd. exit and head South. You will cross Derry Rd. Once on the ramp it will split into to ramps Terminals and Airport Rd. Take the Airport Rd. and follow the road to the end. The location is on the right.

From Hwy 401 East/West take the Dixie Rd exit and head North. Turn right on Derry and continue until you see the FedEx facility. Turn right and continue down past the FedEx entrance.

From Brampton/North/Hwy 410 exit the 410 at Derry and turn left to head East and continue until you see the FedEx facility. Turn right and continue down past the FedEx entrance.

Ensure you park on the right side of the road only to allow access to the crash gate at the end of the road and please do not block access to the crash gate.

FedEx is only suitable from early afternoon onwards as the Sun is facing in the morning. Good touchdown and approach shots can be had for 05 and it is excellent early evening when 23 is in use as it is located roughly where most heavies rotate on departure.

Police have been known to check this location occasionally and it does get very popular on Summer weekends. I have not seen anyone getting moved on unless they are obstructing the crash gate or parking on the left side of the road.

The approach to 05 at sunset

View of the airport from FedEx

Rotation from 23

Airside Spotting Locations

Terminal 1

If you are flying with Air Canada you can obtain a boarding pass from the machines or online up to 12 hours before departure, this means that anyone with an evening flight can spend all day using the departure lounge windows. Bags can not be checked in until nearer departure time however there are storage facilities on the check in level. There is no problem exiting the departure lounge via the arrivals channel.

Locations to Avoid


Regular Traffic

The GTAA website has up to date info on flight arrivals and departures.

  • Aeroflot - Russian Airlines (3,5,7) 767-300
  • Air Canada: Hub. Hundreds of daily flights to/from Canada, USA, Central America, Caribbean, South America, Far East, Asia and Europe with full fleet of Airbus A319/320/321/330-300, Boeing 767-300/777-200LR/777-300ER, Embraer 175/190
  • Air Canada Express (Air Georgian): Hub. Dozens of daily flights to Canada and USA with Beech 1900D
  • Air Canada Express (Jazz): Hub. 100+ daily flights to/from Canada and USA with Bombardier CRJ 100/200/705 and Dash 8-100/300/Q400
  • Air France: Paris-CDC. Daily with Airbus A340-300 or Boeing 777-200ER (summer)
  • Air Transat: Hub. Multiple daily flights to the USA, Caribbean and Europe with Airbus A310-300 and A330-200/300
  • Alitalia: Rome-FCO. Daily with Airbus A330-300
  • American Airlines: Chicago, Miami, Dallas, and Los Angeles. Multiple daily flights with Boeing 737-800
  • American Eagle: New York-LGA/JFK, Chicago-ORD. Multiple daily flights with Embraer 135/140/145 and Bombardier CRJ-700
  • Arkefly: Amsterdam. Twice weekly (summer) (1,5) with Boeing 767-300
  • Austrian Airlines: Vienna. Daily except Wednesday with Boeing 767-300
  • British Airways: London-LHR. 17 weekly with Boeing 747-400, 777-200, 767-300 (Sept. 1 787)
  • Caribbean Airlines: Kingston Jamaica daily, Port of Spain twice daily with Boeing 737-800
  • Canjet: Hub. Multiple destinations in USA and Caribbean with Boeing 737-800
  • Cathay Pacific: Hong Kong. Twelve times weekly with Boeing 777-300ER
  • Condor: Frankfurt FRA. Bi-weekly summer service with Boeing 767-300
  • Copa Airlines: Panama City. Four times weekly with Boeing 737-700
  • Cubana: Havana, Cayo Coco, Cienfuegos, Holguin, Varadero. Multiple weekly flights with various leased Airbus A320
  • Delta Connection (ExpressJet): Atlanta. Multiple flights with Bombardier CRJ-700/900
  • Delta Connection (Pinnacle Airlines): Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York-JFK. Multiple daily flights with Bombardier CRJ-200/900
  • El Al: Tel Aviv. Three times weekly (2,4,7) with Boeing 767-200/300
  • Emirates: Dubai. Three times weekly (1,3,5) with Airbus A380
  • Etihad Airways: Abu Dhabi. Three times weekly (2,4,6) with Boeing 777-300ER
  • Ethiopian: Addis Ababa (FCO technical stop inbound). Twice weekly (2,6) with Boeing 787
  • EVA: Taipei. Three times weekly (1,4,6) with Boeing 777-300ER
  • Finnair: Helsinki. Five times weekly (x56) in the summer with Boeing 757-200
  • Hainan Airlines: Beijing. Four times weekly (1,3,5,6) with Airbus A340-600
  • Icelandair: Keflavik. Four times weekly with Boeing 757-200
  • Jet Airways: Delhi and Brussels. Daily with Airbus A330-200
  • KLM: Amsterdam. Twice daily with Boeing 747-400/777-200s/Airbus A330-200/MD-11
  • Korean Air: Seoul-ICN. Ten times weekly with Boeing 777-200ER/300ER
  • Lufthansa: Frankfurt. Daily with Airbus A340-600. Düsseldorf. Three times weekly (2,4,6) with Airbus A340-300
  • LOT: Warsaw. Daily with Boeing 787
  • Pakistan Airways: Islamabad, Karachi and/or Lahore. Three times weekly (2,5,7) with Boeing 777-200LR
  • SATA Azores: Porto. Weekly with Airbus A310-300s
  • Sunwing Airlines: Hub. Multiple flights to USA and Caribbean with Boeing 737-800; Summer to Europe with 767-300ER
  • Taca: San Salvador/San Jose. Three times weekly with Airbus A320
  • Thomas Cook (Jazz Airlines): Hub. Multiple destinations in USA and Carribean (winter) with Boeing 757-200
  • Turkish Airlines: Istanbul. Four times weekly (1,4,6,7) with Boeing 777-300ER
  • United Airlines: Chicago ORD, San Francisco. Multiple daily flights with Airbus 319/320 and Boeing 757-200
  • United Express (Colgan Air): New York-EWR. Multiple daily flights with Bombardier Dash-8-Q400
  • United Express (CommutAir): Cleveland. Multiple daily flights with Bombardier Dash-8-200
  • United Express (ExpressJet): Chicago-ORD,Washington-IAD. Multiple daily flights with Embraer ERJ-145
  • United Express (GoJet Airlines): Chicago-ORD, Denver, Washington-IAD. Multiple daily flights with Bombardier CRJ-700
  • United Express (Shuttle America): Washington-IAD. Multiple daily flights with Embraer EMB-170
  • United Express (SkyWest Airlines): Houston-IAH. Multiple daily flights with Bombardier CRJ-700
  • US Airways Express (Air Wisconsin): Philadelphia. Multiple daily flights with Bombardier CRJ-200
  • US Airways Express (Republic Airlines): Philadelphia. Multiple daily flights with Embraer EMB-170/175
  • WestJet: Hub. Dozens of flights to Canada, USA, and the Caribbean with Boeing 737-600/700/800

Cargo operations:

  • AeroLogic: Sundays from ORD to FRA with Boeing 777F
  • Cathay Pacific Cargo: Anchorage, Hong Kong. Twice weekly (3,6) with Boeing 747-400F
  • Cubana Cargo: Havana. Weekly (Sunday) with Tupelov Tu-204F
  • FedEx: Memphis, Indianapolis, Anchorage. Twelve times weekly with Boeing MD-10/MD-11F
  • Korean Airlines Cargo: Anchorage, Seoul-ICN, Miami. Twice weekly with 744F
  • Lufthansa Cargo: Frankfurt, Atlanta. Twice weekly with Boeing MD-11F
  • Morningstar Cargo (FedEx): Hub. Multiple weekly flights with Boeing 757-200F
  • UPS Airlines: Louisville. Six weekly (x7) with Boeing 757-200F and Airbus A300-600F

Facilities and Transportation

External Links