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'Unacceptable': Vancouver airport addresses winter storm cancellations, long waits on planes

YVR addresses mass cancellations and delays caused by the winter storm.
Metro Vancouver weather will cause delays again at YVR in December 2022. Travellers should check flight details before heading to the airport.

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) has released a statement following an "unprecedented" number of flight cancellations caused by the worst winter storm of the year. 

B.C.'s biggest airport says that flights are now "steadily arriving and departing" on Thursday (Dec. 22) after the airline was forced to cancel the lion's share of international flights due to inclement weather. 

Many passengers waited for hours on the YVR tarmac in planes, with some people waiting upwards of 10 hours. Tamara Vrooman, President and CEO at Vancouver Airport Authority, addressed the long waits in a press conference Thursday, calling them "unacceptable."

Runways, taxiways, and aprons are now "open and clear of snow and ice," and all de-icing facilities are operational.

"We've 100 cancelled flights out of a total of 660 flights," added Vrooman, noting the improvement in operations as of Thursday.

“We recognize that travel has been challenging for passengers and the effects that extreme winter weather is having on individuals and families this holiday season,” she said. 

“We want to assure our community that we have taken every measure possible to keep people, planes and bags moving safely.”  

Metro Vancouver weather to cause delays at YVR

The airport warns travellers to expect more delays and cancellations in the coming days due to another major winter storm.

Travellers are encouraged to check flight details with YVR online or with their airline before arriving.

To maintain operations moving into the next winter storm, YVR has temporarily limited some arriving international flights through Friday at 5 a.m.

The airport is also working with its airline partners to provide updated schedules to travellers in advance of the next storm. For arriving flights, YVR will collaborate with airlines to provide access to gates in sequential order so passengers are not held on aircraft.

Additional airport staff will also be deployed to help organize luggage and help passengers locate their belongings. They will also support travellers in the terminals, by "providing blankets, refreshments, and real-time assistance."

YVR advises travellers to arrive at least two hours before domestic flights and three hours before U.S. and international ones. However, travellers should give themselves more time right now -- and more time on their commute to the airport -- due to the inclement weather.