Resumption of flights at Vancouver airport after winter storm causes mass cancellations |

Resumption of flights at Vancouver airport after winter storm causes mass cancellations |

Flights to and from Vancouver International Airport continue to resume after major delays and cancellations due to dangerous winter weather.

The airport itself was fully operational as of Saturday morning, with 93 percent of scheduled flights to YVR departing, Vancouver Airport Authority CEO Tamara Vrooman said.

By 10:00 a.m., 36 flights had been canceled while 484 were scheduled to depart.

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YVR puts hundreds of stranded passengers in hotels amid storm delays

“We are in full operation. The track is bare and wet and ready for Santa, as we say, as we head into Christmas Day tomorrow,” said Vrooman.

“Our infrastructure is working well. Our snow removal and deicing equipment was working as planned. We have invested in them in the last few months because we have not seen an increase in extreme weather events.”

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YVR expects about 65,000 passengers to pass through the airport on Christmas Day — the number of calls Vrooman calls typical of the holiday season.

By Saturday afternoon, about a dozen flights had been canceled and many more were delayed.

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Flights are slowly getting back on track at YVR, CEO says airport is making adjustments

On Friday, the airport announced additional “care and comfort” for people stranded at the terminal amid widespread cancellations and delays due to winter weather.

This included cots, blankets and quiet places for people to rest, and 400 hotel rooms for up to four nights for travellers, especially families and the elderly. 145 reservations have been made so far.

“The hotel community has been outstanding in terms of their immediate response to our calls for rooms,” Vrooman said. “The food industry has also been amazing in providing food and meal support. So it’s been a real community effort and we’ve definitely been impressed with the support we’ve had so far.”

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With the mass cancellations of WestJet and Air Canada flights, the airport was operating only about 50 percent of its scheduled departures Friday, according to Vrooman. WestJet proactively canceled many flights in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec due to winter storms.

“This year has been very unusual in that we were almost at a standstill at the beginning of the year due to the pandemic and traffic has increased by 168 percent in six months,” Vrooman said.

“This winter we witnessed a number of winter events. I think what we’re seeing is that these winter events are more frequent and more severe when they come.”

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Airport chaos: Winter weather delays, cancels flights across Canada

Restrictions on inbound international flights – put in place after Tuesday’s snowstorm – were lifted on Friday morning. However, some flights were delayed on Saturday.

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“We’ve had some international flight delays,” Vrooman said. “The Singapore Airways flight was delayed this morning. The Air India flight that was canceled yesterday left this morning.”

The cancellation left hundreds of people stranded at the airport, with some passengers sitting on planes on the tarmac for more than 12 hours. Vrooman said it was unacceptable for people to wait hours on planes.

— With files from Amy Judd

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WestJet cancels flights across Canada amid storm: ‘Unlike anything we’ve experienced’

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