YVR placing hundreds of passengers stranded in hotels amid storm delays | globalnews.ca

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Vancouver International Airport said Friday it was providing “care and comfort” to people stranded at the terminal amid cancellations and delays due to a winter storm.

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

“Our main focus is to get passengers on their journey safely. When extreme weather disrupts those plans for extended periods, we understand that passengers face immense challenges, especially if they don’t call Vancouver home,” YVR President and CEO Tamara Vrooman said in a press release.

“It is important to note that secured hotel rooms for passengers do not detract from crew capacity for our partner airlines.”

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WestJet cancels flights in Canada in the middle of a storm: “Unlike anything we have experienced”

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The airport has also set up a designated area in the terminal intended to be more comfortable for travelers who choose not to leave the premises.

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

Vrooman said crews had been clearing runways and taxiways and the plane was leaving Friday morning despite heavy snowfall.

“Of course, we are monitoring the freezing rain that is expected across the region because it significantly worsens conditions on the roads and also at the airports,” Vrooman said Friday.

“WestJet and Air Canada have canceled a ton of flights, so we’re flying about 50 percent of our planned schedule today. It seems that passengers have been notified overnight by those two carriers as the terminal is very quiet this morning and only passengers whose flights are departing are arriving. Mainly flights left this morning for the United States and also large international flights, Aeroméxico, Air India and Singapore Airlines.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver airport says it's ready for Friday's storm'

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

WestJet said Thursday 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 between 11:50 pm Pacific Time on Thursday and Friday afternoon are cancelled.

Other airports affected by service disruptions include those in 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 is in addition to the 119 cancellations on Thursday.

Click to play video: 'YVR CEO promises airport to be ready for the coming storm'

YVR CEO promises airport to be ready for the coming storm

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BC Ferries cancels several Friday trips as winter storm batters south coast

Vrooman said that YVR lifted the restriction on incoming international flights on Friday morning. The restriction affected about 30 flights from 17 airlines.

Many passengers have been disappointed and stranded this week with flights canceled and some passengers sitting on planes on the runway for more than 12 hours.

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

“Many, many people I spoke to in the terminal over the past three days, countless stories of people disappointed that they couldn’t finally take that family trip or get together over the holidays. What happened when the first snow fell was not the amount of snow, but how fast it fell. And our de-icing systems were fully operational. But just like when you’re shoveling your driveway, when it’s snowing hard, when you get to the end, the snow has already piled up at the other end and you have to start over.”

Click to play video: Chaos

‘Unprecedented’ chaos at Vancouver International Airport

Vrooman said it was unacceptable that so many people had to sit in planes on the runway for so long.

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

“Usually what happens is it’s like a first-in, first-out parking spot. We said, ‘No, we’ll indicate which plane goes to which gate to make sure nobody has a long time waiting on the plane.’ We made that change. On Wednesday there was no waiting. On Thursday there was no waiting. And we don’t anticipate any waiting today.”

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