Published in Ideas in Motion, a blog series by Greater Toronto Airports Authority
Written by Sevaun Palvetzian
An airport is not just a way to get from A to B, writes Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO of CivicAction. It can help build stronger, connected communities and take social change to new heights.
We think about passing through an airport in the same way we think about booking a flight or checking into a hotel: it’s a means to an end, marking the start or finish of what we hope will be a rewarding journey.
But the fact is we expect far more from an airport than a smooth trip through security and a convenient smartphone charger near the gate (so we can make our obligatory social media posts). An airport doesn’t just link two points on a map; it connects people to opportunities, and ideas to action. And when it’s a global hub like Toronto Pearson, those connections happen on a scale that drives employment and economic growth – not just in our region, but across the country.
Every time an airline launches a new daily international service at Toronto Pearson, it adds an estimated $50 million to the economy and facilitates about 400 jobs – equivalent to a good-sized manufacturing plant. This means a flight to some distant corner of the globe we may never visit ourselves has a huge impact right here in our own backyard.
So in a globally connected, increasingly complicated world, we need to be paying more attention than ever to what’s going on in our own city, and the challenges we face together. And what’s become clear, in this new era of city building, is that true leadership means getting as many leaders as possible around the table to solve problems.