Madam Chair and committee members, good morning.
I'm Hillary Marshall, vice-president of stakeholder relations and communications for the GTAA. With me is Robyn Connelly, the director of community relations—her office manages noise programs—and Mike Belanger, director of aviation programs and compliance.
Thanks for the opportunity to present today and for the work the committee is undertaking to understand the impact of noise. The GTAA shares this goal.
Toronto Pearson is working towards a bold vision: to be the best airport in the world. Today, we're the fifth most connected airport in the world, and we play a vital role in connecting Canadian cities to each other and the world. One in five Canadians uses Toronto Pearson for air travel today. Because of our connectivity, we believe that being the best airport in the world starts closer to home, working hand in hand with our community and in lockstep with our aviation partners and industry experts.
Today, I'd like to tell you about a few of the initiatives that we've developed in collaboration with our community and industry partners.
Every five years, we develop a noise management action plan, which lays out how we will address noise over a five-year cycle. In our previous noise management action plan, we accomplished the following. We removed the 10-nautical-mile boundary that limited where we would accept noise complaints from; this initiative in particular was pushed forward by Councillor Knoll of Oakville, whom you just heard from, and he also pushed to expand the committee membership to include the regions of York, Durham and Halton. We also undertook a review of the locations of our system of noise monitoring terminals and added eight more for a total of 25.
Our 2018-22 noise management action plan is even more ambitious. It has 10 commitments that will make Toronto Pearson a leader in aviation noise management. We created this plan following an international best practices study of 26 comparator airports around the world. The study was conducted for us by Helios, whom you will hear from at a later date, I understand. Additionally, we engaged more than 3,000 residents to help shape the plan by giving us their input through workshops, and we assembled a resident-led reference panel specifically to provide input on noise and airport growth. This plan has been well received by the community and resident groups, and we're now taking action to implement the plan. As part of our implementation, we're continuing to update our community and resident partners, as well as our elected officials.
A key initiative of our plan is the quieter fleet incentive program, which targets noise from aircraft. The A320 family of aircraft has a high-pitched whine related to air intake. This can be eliminated with a simple retrofit. Airlines around the world, such as Lufthansa, Air France, British Airways and easyJet, have already made this change. We've written and engaged with our carriers to ask for their support and to advise them that we are moving ahead with an incentive program in 2020. We continue to work with our airline partners to make this happen as soon as possible.
In 2015, we started working with NavCan to develop what has become known as the “Six Ideas”, specifically designed to reduce noise in our adjacent communities. A description of these six ideas has been provided to you, but I'd like to take a moment to highlight a few of them.
Ideas 1 and 2 were implemented on November 8 by Nav Canada. These are new nighttime flight paths for approaching and departing aircraft. Idea 5 involves alternating east and west runway use on weekends to provide some predictable respite for communities on the final approach or initial departure. This program was tested this past summer. We're examining the results, and we look forward to making those results public shortly.
Following the guidelines of the airspace change communications and consultation protocol, our community partners were involved at every stage of this three-year study. In the last year alone, we reached out to 2.9 million residents via print ads, had 250,000 online views and connected with 160,000 people by phone. About 1,000 people participated directly in surveys. We also met with elected officials throughout the process to ensure that they had information in order to respond to community questions and concerns.
We're seeing positive impacts and also a positive response from the community. In addition to working with our community and industry partners, we have also engaged with experts in the field of noise management and annoyance to guide our work. We're working with the University of Windsor to understand noise annoyance. The committee heard earlier from Professor Novak and Ph.D. student Julia Jovanovic. We are supporting their research to better understand how the community experiences noise effects and how we can work better to mitigate that. We also engaged Helios to be our technical consultant on the delivery of our five-year noise management action plan. Its role is to help us ensure that we're finding responsible and innovative solutions based on international best practices.
In closing, Toronto Pearson is continually looking for ways to manage its noise and annoyance. We do this by balancing our commitment to our neighbours with the pursuit of our vision of making Toronto Pearson the best airport in the world. In 2017, we served more than 47 million passengers and directly employed nearly 50,000 people at our airport. We have the second-largest employment zone in the country, and the airport facilitates more than 6% of Ontario's GDP.
Toronto Pearson's growth is important to future jobs and economic development. We know that it cannot be done without the help of our neighbours and partners. We're working hard to find a way that we can all grow and prosper together.
Thanks again for the opportunity to represent the airport. I look forward to your questions.