YVR has put hundreds of passengers in hotels amid storm delays

YVR has put hundreds of passengers in hotels amid storm delays

Vancouver International Airport said Friday it was extending “care and comfort” to people stranded in the terminal amid cancellations and delays caused by a winter storm.

YVR said it was offering 400 rooms at local hotels for up to four nights and restaurant gift cards to travelers experiencing overnight delays.

“Our main focus is getting passengers safely. When extreme weather disrupts those plans for an extended period of time, we understand that passengers face tremendous challenges, especially if they don’t call Vancouver home,” YVR President and CEO Tamara Vrooman said in a press release.

“Importantly, guaranteed hotel rooms for passengers do not take away from the crew capacity of our airline partners.”

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WestJet cancels Canadian flights amid storm: ‘Unlike anything we’ve ever experienced’

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The airport has also established a designated area in the terminal to make it more convenient for passengers who choose not to leave the facility.

Earlier, YVR administrators said the facility was fully operational despite the winter storm.

Vrooman said crews were clearing runways and taxiways and planes were leaving Friday morning despite heavy snow.

“We’re tracking the freezing rain that’s expected across the region, which of course will make conditions significantly worse on roads and airports as well,” Vrooman said Friday.

“WestJet and Air Canada have canceled many, many flights, so we’re flying about 50 percent of our scheduled schedule today. It appears that passengers have been notified overnight by both carriers because the terminal is very quiet this morning with departing passengers because they only arrive. Especially this morning the flights to the USA and also for the big international flights, Aeromexico, Air India and Singapore Airlines.”

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Vancouver Airport says it’s ready for Friday’s storm

WestJet said Thursday that it was proactively canceling flights at airports in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec due to winter storms.

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All scheduled flights to and from YVR are canceled between 11:50 PM Pacific Time on Thursday and late Friday.

Other airports affected by service disruptions include Ottawa, London, Montreal, Waterloo, Abbotsford, Victoria, Nanaimo and Comox.

As of Thursday night, WestJet had canceled 243 flights scheduled for Friday in the Vancouver region, Vancouver Island and southern Ontario and Quebec. That’s in addition to Thursday’s 119 cancellations.

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YVR’s CEO vows the airport will be ready for the storm

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Vrooman said YVR lifted the restriction on inbound international flights Friday morning. The reduction affected around 30 flights from 17 airlines.

Many travelers have been left frustrated and stranded this week with canceled flights and some passengers sitting on the tarmac on planes for up to 12 hours.

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“We really empathize with travelers whose plans have been cut short by the weather and the inability to fly, especially this time of year after the pandemic,” Vrooman said.

“I spoke to many, many people in the terminal over the last three days, many stories of people who are disappointed that they can’t finally take that family trip or get together on vacation. What happened when the first snow fell was not the amount of snow, but how fast it fell. And our defrost systems were fully functional. But like when you’re stepping on the walk in front of your house, when it’s snowing heavily, when you get to the end, the snow has already piled up at the other end and you have to start all over.”

Click to play video: 'Unprecedented' Chaos at Vancouver International Airport'

“Unprecedented” chaos at Vancouver International Airport

Vrooman said it was unacceptable that so many people were sitting on the tarmac on planes for so long.

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“We made changes to redirect the planes,” he said.

“Usually what happens is, it’s like a parking lot, first in, first out. We said, “No, we’re going to direct which plane goes to which gate, so that no one waits on the plane.” We made that change. He didn’t wait on Wednesday. Thursday did not wait. And today we don’t expect any waiting time.’

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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