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Monday,  March 4, 2024 10:27 PM 

B.C. snowstorm halts all flights at Vancouver airport; cancellations expected all week

  • Air
  •   12-20-2022  6:24 am
  •   Pax Global Media

B.C. snowstorm halts all flights at Vancouver airport; cancellations expected all week
Pax Global Media

This story was updated on Dec. 21 at 11:06 a.m. EST

An intense southern B.C. snowstorm has had an “unprecedented impact” on flights and operations at Vancouver International Airport (YVR), the facility said Tuesday (Dec. 20).

The weather resulted in mass cancellations at YVR and travel continues to be significantly impacted throughout the morning.

“We anticipate cancellations to continue through the day and the week ahead,” the airport wrote in a statement on its Twitter account Tuesday morning.

The airport confirmed at 7:30 a.m. local time that there were no flights leaving YVR “as we work with our partners to safely get passengers off aircraft and clear the airfield and aircraft of snow and ice to get planes and people moving again.”

Passengers who are expecting to fly today (Dec. 20) and this week are being advised to check with their airline directly on the status of their flight, the airport noted.

“We are asking people to please not come to YVR if you do not absolutely need to...We recognize the affect these cancellations have on our community. We sincerely apologize to all those impacted.”


For latest flight info, passengers are encouraged to visit as updates will be posted there throughout the day.

Most of British Columbia is impacted by weather warnings as snow, extreme cold and arctic winds whip the province.

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation said as much as 30 centimetres of snow had covered parts of southern Vancouver Island while Metro Vancouver saw up to 25 centimetres.

Environment Canada forecast another five to 10 inches would fall before conditions were expected to ease.

BC Ferries also cancelled all morning sailings between the Mainland, Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and southern Gulf Islands due to poor visibility and difficulty reaching ferry terminals, while police in Abbotsford, east of Vancouver, reported whiteout conditions along Highway 1 through the Fraser Valley.

Several flights out of YVR were cancelled at the end of November due to a previous snowstorm that cause one plane to slide off the taxiway. 

Airlines post notices 

Air Canada noted on Dec. 20 that if travellers currently have a reservation, there's a policy that makes it possible to make voluntary changes to an itinerary if:

  • The customers purchased an Air Canada ticket no later than Dec. 19, 2022 for travel between December 20, 2022 and December 25, 2022.
  • The itinerary includes a flight to, from or via Vancouver (YVR).

"If you are scheduled to travel during the affected period, you can retrieve your booking to change your flight up to two hours before departure, free of charge, to another date between now and December 31, 2022, subject to availability in the cabin you originally purchased on your Air Canada flight. Otherwise, any fare difference will apply," Air Canada wrote. 

WestJet on its website said that "enhanced flexible change/cancel guidelines" are in effect due to the winter storm warning in B.C. 

Guests should also check status of their flights before leaving for the airport.

"Unfortunately, weather challenges are expected to continue and there is limited availability to reaccommodate due to the demand. If your flight is cancelled, any available reaccomodation options will be communicated to you through email," the airline wrote on Twitter yesterday. 

"We ask that you only phone our Contact Centre to make changes to confirmed reservations within the next 72 hours. If your flight has been cancelled and you are looking for a new flight option, the Contact Centre is unable to assist. Please wait for an email with your options." 

"Please do not go to the airport for assistance. Our airport teams are not able to support further, and any possible reaccommodation options will be the same as those you’ll receive through email." 

WestJet customers that have a flight booking between now and Dec. 26, and would like to cancel their trip, full refunds to original form of payment are available through this form here

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