"I started working at the airport on May 22, 1973. I applied for the job (...) ground handling airplanes for Air Canada. It was my first full time job; I did just about everything. My favourite things were towing airplanes and driving a water truck.
In 2012, I could retire. Some of my former colleagues had left Air Canada and gotten jobs with the GTAA. One of them was telling me about it one day and I thought: well, I'd like to do that — collect my pension and work in the winter.
I'm an airport surface maintenance specialist. I'm in the group that clears snow in the apron area. Using the smaller tractors, you can clear from the wingtips out. You push the snow out to the area where the big tractors wait, and they take it away.
On the apron, you have to have your eyes open. I listen on the radio when an airplane is going to come off or on a gate. You have your company radio, and then you may be listening to the apron radio because the flights are calling up — they're saying they're going to be leaving gate 139 and oh yeah, in 30 seconds, there's going to be something in my way there!
This is likely my last season. You look back and think: people dressed more formally when flying. Now, it's pretty darn casual. The airplanes in the 70s, 80s and 90s were noisier. Many required an external diesel machine to generate electricity while the engines were off, so there was a constant background noise all the time. It just seemed like you couldn't escape the noise! But now, once the plane stops, they just plug into electricity from the building, and it's not nearly as bad as it used to be.
I enjoy the aviation industry. I've always enjoyed being part of a team, working with a group of guys, getting an assignment and going out and doing it. A number of us have often said we'd recommend anyone to work at the airport."
- Michael, Airport Surface Maintenance Specialist