April 6 2021  |  Airlines & Airports

Meet the Team at Greater Toronto Airport Authority

By Laura Shirk

Following the conclusion of the pilot testing program, GTAA continued its leadership in supporting COVID-19 testing research with the launch of a valuable COVID-19 PCR and antigen testing research program at Pearson on March 1

Earlier this year, the Ontario government launched a COVID-19 pilot testing program at Toronto Pearson International Airport to protect the airport community and minimize the spread of the virus. Described as another layer of protection in Pearson’s Healthy Airport program, which helped Pearson become the first Canadian airport to achieve Airports Council International health accreditation, the voluntary test was administered by Switch Health and led to the discovering of almost 150 cases.

Following the conclusion of the pilot program, GTAA continued its leadership in supporting COVID-19 testing research with the launch of a valuable COVID-19 PCR and antigen testing research program at Pearson on March 1. Strongly committed to a science and data-based approach, this initiative reinforces GTAA’s focus on contributing to the local and national economic recovery. It’s believed that this study might have application in other settings including schools, work- places, retailers, nursing homes and community centers.

Here, we meet the main players of the GTAA team:

Shaun Maloney, Senior Representative, Partnerships, GTAA

Q: Tell us about your professional back ground. What inspired you to take on your current position and join the GTAA team?

A: I began working at Golf Town, a national sporting goods retailer. From there, I went on to work for a consulting firm that man- aged marketing and sponsorship programs at RBC, CN Rail and Manulife.

My inspiration for joining GTAA comes from my lifelong connection to Toronto Pearson, as my mother worked for Air Canada starting in the 1970s. Growing up, I made frequent visits to the airport, which ignited my passion for traveling.

Q: Considering the state of the aviation and travel industry, what is your greatest professional accomplishment of the last year?

A: Over the past year, GTAA has been able to strengthen its relationships with its partners. This has resulted in investments in new technology supporting its Healthy Airport initiatives, as well as identifying an opportunity to bring in a new retailer that will be opening soon.

Q: How has the team continued to support its duty free and travel retail partners throughout the global pandemic?

A: Working closely with partners and collaborators to innovate and trial new opportunities, our team has been focused on delivering a safe and healthy airport experience.

We’ve also been developing data-backed recovery plans in various scenarios, continuing to use our resources and channels to drive revenue, ensuring the health and safety
of passengers and employees is the top priority.

Q: How are you spending your time in lockdown?

A: The majority of my time has been spent with my immediate family members and our pets. I’ve had time to complete a couple of household renovations and I continue to explore travel options for when restrictions are lifted.

Lucy Polsinelli, Senior Representative, Food & Beverage Category Management, GTAA

Q: Tell us about your professional background. What inspired you to take on your current position and join the GTAA team?

A: I’ve been working at Pearson Airport for over 24 years and my background reflects what I truly love about working in such a diverse environment: people. In my current position, I have the opportunity to build relationships with our partners in order to deliver a world-class airport experience for passengers. I’m fortunate to interact with individuals of many backgrounds and skill levels on a daily basis, which has allowed me to expand my own knowledge and build on my expertise.

Q: Considering the state of the aviation and travel industry, what is your greatest professional accomplishment of the last year?

A: My greatest accomplishment is how our team has been able to adapt to find new ways of bringing a first-class passenger experience in food and beverage. One example of this is the launching of Uber Eats across Terminal 1 and Terminal 3.

This new service, which gives customers the option of skip- ping the line and limiting contact by ordering ahead, allows GTAA to provide a variety of excellent food and beverage options, while adhering to the latest health and safety protocols. It’s been a win-win effort so far and we’re looking forward to the growth of the program.

Q: How has the team continued to support its duty free and travel retail partners throughout the global pandemic?

A: We continue to support our partners through the pandemic by giving them the flexibility to adjust their business in a way that makes sense both financially and operationally. Something as simple as changing or reducing hours of operation can make a difference in the long-term.

Q: How are you spending your time in lockdown?

A: During the lockdown, I’ve made it a priority to focus on my overall wellbeing – mentally and physically. I set up a home gym and have dedicated time every day to exercise. I’ve made sure to reach out to friends and family via video calling to stay connected. I’ve also taken on a few home improvement projects along the way!

Ningxia Chee, Senior Representative, Duty Free & Specialty Retail, GTAA

Q: Tell us about your professional background. What inspired you to take on your current position and join the GTAA team?

A: I began my career in corporate finance and advisory. My entry into the aviation industry started with Singapore Changi Airport as a Commercial Manager and I loved my experience there. I wanted to continue building my career in this exciting industry and having recently been voted “Best Large Airport in North America” by Airports Council International for the fourth consecutive year, Toronto Pearson is an industry leader.

GTAA is a natural fit for my experience and I’m happy to be able to contribute to the growth and evolution of the commercial business.

Q: Considering the state of the aviation and travel industry, what is your greatest professional accomplishment of the last year?

A: We’ve been a nimble team throughout the pandemic. For example, we undertook a new partner to quickly launch a PPE vending machine business, providing an important service to meet the needs of travelers and the airport community. We continued to establish business relationships and developed new retail offerings, which are ready to go to market once passenger traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels.

Q: How has the team continued to support its duty free and travel retail partners throughout the global pandemic?

A: We continuously engage with our partners in open conversations to understand their needs. We’ve re-negotiated contractual terms, providing flexibility in operating hours and supporting retailers through innovative channels and promotions to drive sales. In support of Pearson’s Healthy Airport program, we work closely with our partners to ensure health and safety measures are in place in order for businesses to operate safely, both for travelers and employees.

Q: How are you spending your time in lockdown?

A: Most of my free time is spent with my family, making improvements around the house and enjoying nature walks. I’m very much looking forward to the return of non-essential travel!

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