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Weather, reduced staffing causing some Toronto flights to be cancelled

A number of flights at Toronto Pearson International Airport have been delayed or cancelled today due to weather and reduced staffing levels at Pearson's control tower. A man carries his luggage at Pearson International Airport in Toronto Friday December 20, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

Weather and reduced staffing of air traffic controllers at Toronto Pearson International Airport is causing delays and dozens of flight cancellations.

NAV Canada, which owns and operates Canada’s civil air navigation service, says weather has affected flights to Montreal and Newark, N.J., from Toronto.

In an email Saturday, spokesman Jonathan Bagg says flights scheduled to land in Toronto are also affected by weather and reduced staffing levels at Pearson’s control tower.

He says a ground delay program has been implemented, which is a traffic management procedure where flights are delayed at their departure airport to manage demand and capacity at their arrival airport.

NAV Canada did not explain the reason for the reduced staffing levels, but says it is working to get aircraft “on their way as quickly as possible.”

About 80 flights scheduled to arrive at Pearson had been cancelled as of Saturday evening.

In a tweet Saturday afternoon, the airport was warning passengers that lightning could affect their flight schedules.