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It's a shame air traffic is basically dead right now. Going out to the airport and sitting in the car with the kid to watch planes land would've killed a solid hour of time every weekend seeing as there are so little options for entertainment right now.
I have wonderful memories doing that with my dad back in the day when DC8s, DC9s, DC10s, 727s, 737, 747s, and L1011s ruled the skies. Now, they all look alike and are hardly distinguishable to the casual observer.
 
It's a shame air traffic is basically dead right now. Going out to the airport and sitting in the car with the kid to watch planes land would've killed a solid hour of time every weekend seeing as there are so little options for entertainment right now.

I drove part-time for an out-of-town van service post retirement and sometimes we would have an hour or so layover. Often I would go up to the Country Style on Airport Rd. just off runway 23/05. I'm not a plane-spotter but it was pretty cool sometimes. I also took our daughter down to Buttonville when she was young, usually on a Sunday morning, to give mom a bit of a break. Much smaller scale but still a fair bit of activity for a young mind to watch. She now a civilian RCAF employee!
 
Lack of plane has been easy on the ears these days.

Airplanes like trains in the past, you could say it was this or that. Now days other than a 747 (now retire due COVID-19) except cargo, 737 and dash 8, haven't a clue what they are unless I see the tail marking after shooting and checking the markings.

Taking the kids to the airport to plane watch was fun, and the 2 of us still do it when we can. Last year got to watch planes land and take off in Las Vegas in an area setup for plane watching. Had looked at other airports we would see on our trips, but none show where you could watch. Check a few out and came upon an area in Phoenix where we could park and watch. Wasn't sure about it until saw some cars parked there and it was at the east end of a runway and got to watch planes land, with an odd one taking off. Take off was on the other side runway. At Phoenix and Las Vegas, you see the planes touch down with smoke from the tires on touch down, but saw none from a number of planes.

Of the airports I visited in Europe to try to watch planes, Frankfurt was the best, as you could see them land, take off and taxi to/from a gate below you or near by. Got my first look at an Airbus 380 plane and airlines you don't see here. Wide range of planes. Even got to see where my plane loading gate was that I would be using a few days later to come home from. Something you can't do at Pearson unless taking a plane and only behind glass. Nice long out door viewing area.
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For me, nothing will ever beat P8 of the old Terminal one, the old McDonnell Douglas parking lot adjacent to runway 23, and the shoulder of silver dart by 24R before the jersey barriers were installed.I killed many hours at those locations before I worked at Pearson.
 
One thing that would improve Pearson in future phases would be an emphasis on a more pleasant public realm on the exterior of the terminals. When you step outside the terminals at Pearson, you see a barren utilitarian expanse of concrete, particularly outside Terminal 1. Terminal 3 has some light landscaping, but it's not that noticeable. It would be more pleasant to have trees with enough room to mature, as well as flowers, shrubs, and even water features. I think Vancouver did better in this regard.
 
One thing that would improve Pearson in future phases would be an emphasis on a more pleasant public realm on the exterior of the terminals. When you step outside the terminals at Pearson, you see a barren utilitarian expanse of concrete, particularly outside Terminal 1. Terminal 3 has some light landscaping, but it's not that noticeable. It would be more pleasant to have trees with enough room to mature, as well as flowers, shrubs, and even water features. I think Vancouver did better in this regard.
That is all true but, until now anyway, the basic aim of airport operators was to get people to wander the terminals and buy things from the store (who pay lots of $$$ rent). They did not want people wandering around outside (or inside) unless it was 'profitable". Gardens and fountains are lovely but cost $$$ rather than earn $$$. Now, airports will have to look at their spaces and reconfigure things so customers (i.e. travellers) can "physically distance". That MAY give greater 'value' to open spaces.
 
...Got my first look at an Airbus 380 plane and airlines you don't see here...
I've only seen an Emirates A380 here when I've happened to be on Airport Road near the Wendy's,
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but apparently ones from other airlines (British Airways, Korean Air, Etihad) may get diverted here on rare occasions.
One arrival that got some attention four years ago was a former Air France 747 in the guise of Ed Force One, piloted by Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson.
 
That is all true but, until now anyway, the basic aim of airport operators was to get people to wander the terminals and buy things from the store (who pay lots of $$$ rent). They did not want people wandering around outside (or inside) unless it was 'profitable". Gardens and fountains are lovely but cost $$$ rather than earn $$$. Now, airports will have to look at their spaces and reconfigure things so customers (i.e. travellers) can "physically distance". That MAY give greater 'value' to open spaces.

The basic aim of airport operators is to maintain infrastructure for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods by airplane into and out of a particular area. The GTAA isn't a business, though it provides business space to offset its operating costs. That alone isn't its basic aim but rather a choice the government made for budgetary reasons.

I would say that the attitude that "Gardens and fountains are lovely but cost $$$ rather than earn $$$" is why the public realm is generally so substandard here in many places in Canada. We focus too much on the business aspect of doing something at the expense of social value. I think we have to ask ourselves if good business returns are the sole and only thing we aim for as residents of the city in our day-to-day lives. Outside of the work of managing for-profit corporations, the answer is most likely "no".
 
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I've only seen an Emirates A380 here when I've happened to be on Airport Road near the Wendy's,
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but apparently ones from other airlines (British Airways, Korean Air, Etihad) may get diverted here on rare occasions.
One arrival that got some attention four years ago was a former Air France 747 in the guise of Ed Force One, piloted by Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson.
Can't recall who A380 arrived at Pearson, but wasn't Emirates a few years ago and don't have a shot of it. COVID-19 has ground almost all of the A380's. Very rare to see one around here.

Wendy's is the best place to watch planes come in, since most good location are gone now with the expansion as well the roads around it.

On our trip last year, saw 2 locations where planes were being store in Arizona. According to tail markings, still active and not that old for a fair number I could marking of.
 
Both BA and Korean have had A380s here on diversion. The BA one was LAX-LHR that stopped in the middle of the night for a medical emergency and i think the Korean was an ICN-JFK WX diversion.Those are at least two that I can remember.
 
Is there any infrastructure work that Pearson could accelerate with lower traffic levels? I know Montreal is working on a runway resurfacing.
 
Is there any infrastructure work that Pearson could accelerate with lower traffic levels? I know Montreal is working on a runway resurfacing.

Pearson is also undergoing some runway resurfacing as well. Rebuilding taxiway H and resurfacing runway 15L/33R.

Aside from that I would imagine that any planned infrastructure works could be accelerated to take advantage of the reduced flights. However I don't think they have anything that is that far along in planning that could be started right now. The new trans border pier is open, the transportation hub is only in preliminary planning stages, runway 05R/23L is way off in the distant planning horizon, etc, etc. There may also be difficulty in getting construction workers in to do the work with concerns about covid.
 

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