On the heels of Toronto Pearson (YYZ) outlining its winter preparedness plan last week, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) on Tuesday (Dec. 5) shared its strategy for a smooth holiday travel season – an action plan of 130 initiatives, costing $40 million dollars.
Last winter, Vancouver airport faced “unprecedented" challenges after a snowstorm slammed into the facility right before and during the Christmastime rush, delaying and cancelling flights across the board.
The turbulent period led to an “After Action Review” in January of this year.
The review, according to Tamara Vrooman, Vancouver International Airport’s President and CEO, laid out a roadmap “to improve resiliency and better support passengers during major weather events.”
Some of YVR’s latest improvements include the installation of real-time weather monitoring equipment, new gating and towing protocols to ensure arriving aircraft have access to gates within 30 minutes, adding more front-line staff to support passengers 24/7, investing in technology to assist airlines in getting inbound bags back to their passengers, using digital sensors to enable more efficient passenger flow, and implementing digital tools to help travellers save time.
A new snow storm response plan has also been unveiled.
A busy winter ahead
This December, approximately two million passengers are expected to fly through Vancouver airport – approximately a quarter of a million more than last year in 2022., the facility says.
YVR predicts the busiest days of holiday travel will be December 20, 21 and 22 – all seeing more than 70,000 passengers through the airport.
Travellers are encouraged to plan ahead by checking their flight status online, pre-booking parking or transportation, and consider booking their security check-in time using YVR EXPRESS.
Snow clearing measures
In a press release, YVR said it has spent this past year “proactively turning lessons into actionable plans.”
Of the airport’s 130 initiatives, many relate to snow removal and ice control, including the purchase of 19 pieces of specialized snow clearing equipment.
During a major snowstorm, YVR says it will use “over 100 pieces of snow removal equipment” to keep runways, taxiways and aprons safe for aircraft and passengers.
Aircraft de-icing services also now include five new electric de-icing vehicles, which have been added to the existing fleet of 24 de-icing trucks.
The airport also noted several tech upgrades, including an improved ability to track baggage, and more digital tools, such as YVR EXPRESS and YVR TimeLine, which allows passengers to find out whether they are at risk of missing their flights by scanning a QR code and inputting their flight number
In addition, YVR has a new Curbside Greeting Program that is designed to welcome arriving guests and deliver support for travellers with varying needs.
Travellers can also now find all the latest information about the airport using newly-launched news page here.
“This dynamic webpage now gives YVR the flexibility and capability to reach the community and media with crucial information more quickly than ever, as well as provide critical operational updates in the event travel plans are disrupted by severe weather, emergencies, or any type of irregular operations,” the airport said.
For more info on YVR's winter readiness plan, click here.