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Passengers asked to plan ahead as Montreal-Trudeau airport expecting summer travel surge

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Around seven million people are expected to fly in and out of the Montreal-Trudeau airport over the next three months — a record amount.

With some tricks to avoid more hold-ups, passengers are asked to plan ahead.

"Last year, we had about 2 million passengers per month for the summer. This year, it's going to be about 2.2 [million], so it's a big increase," Anne-Sophie Hamel, an Aéroports de Montréal (ADM) spokesperson.

Whether it's to avoid congestion on the road or foot traffic inside the airport, passenger Ines Idrissi said she always shows up with a few hours to spare.

"If you don't come here early, you're going to have to wait even more hours to take another flight so that's even more annoying," she told CTV News.

Visiting from Brisbane, Australia, John Loxton said he knew better than to get stuck in a rush-hour jam.

"We're about four hours early," he said. "I didn't want to get stuck in that traffic coming out of Montreal on the freeway."

Passengers are seen inside the Montreal airport on Thursday, June 20, 2024. (Laurence Brisson Dubreuil/CTV News)

Hamel said passengers should prepare for more hold-ups this June, July and August.

"There's going to be times where it's going to be a little more difficult at the airport, especially during our peak periods ... which is the end of day around 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.," she said.

She recommends arriving at the airport at least three hours before a scheduled flight and using available technology to plan ahead, including the YUL Express app, which allows passengers to set a time to access security checkpoints and stay up-to-date on flight information.

Hamel said Montreal's international airport is seeing the biggest growth across all the major Canadian airports.

"That means that we offer good air services, we have great destinations, and we can make sure that people from Montreal get to travel, see the world, meet with their families and we have tourists here, which is good also for the economic growth of the city," she said.

While the ADM sees the spike in passengers as a plus, aviation expert John Gradek said it's not all positive.

"There's about $10 billion that are going to be needed to make Montreal the right airport size and right airport capacity to meet demand," said Gradek, a lecturer and coordinator of the Aviation Management Program at McGill University.

The ADM said it added measures this summer to limit traffic to the airport, including two drop-off points. The "express west" drop-off area is at parking lot number 4 and the "express east" area is near Highway 520.

Once there, passengers can use the airport shuttle bus to get to the terminal in less than five minutes.

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