Tag: Vancouver YVR

YVR Increases Airport Improvement Fee to Meet Future Growth

Provided by Vancouver Airport Authority/CNW

Updated economic impact numbers unveiled, highlighting YVR’s growing role
as a key economic driver for British Columbia

YVR Terminal Extension

RICHMOND, BC, Sept. 12, 2019 /CNW/ -Today, in an address to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, Craig Richmond, President & CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority, announced that Vancouver International Airport (YVR) will be increasing its Airport Improvement Fee (AIF) to meet forecasted growth and ensure the airport’s long-term financial health. The AIF will increase from $20 to $25 effective January 1, 2020 for passengers travelling to destinations outside of B.C.

Following the increase, YVR’s AIF will continue to be one of the lowest among the eight major Canadian airports with only Ottawa International Airport collecting a lower fee of $23. Additionally, YVR is the only major airport to offer a heavily discounted rate for regional travel at $5 for flights within B.C. and to the Yukon.

Richmond also shared early results from YVR’s latest economic impact study, showcasing the airport’s role in driving economic benefits for the region. Through its operations, tourism and cargo, YVR helps facilitate $20.2 billion in total economic output, $10.4 billion in total Gross Domestic Product and $1.4 billion in total government revenue in B.C. In addition, YVR supports more than 26,500 jobs on Sea Island and over 126,000 jobs across the province. These numbers are up significantly from YVR’s previous economic impact study in 20151.

YVR earns revenue from three main sources: aeronautical revenue (25%), non-aeronautical revenue (44%) and the AIF (31%), as of 2018. First introduced in 1993, the AIF can only be used to pay for capital infrastructure projects such as terminals and runways. The AIF is essential as the Canadian government does not provide funding to operate YVR and revenue generated from aeronautical and non-aeronautical sources is not enough to cover both the costs of operating the airport and the major capital projects needed to enhance and maintain it. YVR has collected $2.2 billion from the AIF since its inception in 1993 and has spent $3.7 billion on capital projects during that same timeframe. 

YVR just completed 74 months of consecutive, year-over-year growth, which enables the airport to deliver on its public mandate—to provide economic and social benefits to its communities. Given this growth, YVR is currently underway with a multibillion-dollar capital expansion program that will see up to 75 major projects completed over the next 20 years.
Quotes from Richmond’s speaking remarks for his address to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade:

Attributed to Craig Richmond, President & CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority

“When major Canadian airports were privatized in 1992, we were given a very clear and powerful public mandate—to make the best possible use of airport lands, in such a way to provide social and economic benefit to our communities.Vancouver Airport Authority uses this mandate as a guiding light for all decisions.”

“Our unique, community-based operating model has helped us grow into a powerful connecting hub and economic contributor—one that supports thousands of jobs, connects local companies with customers around the world and welcomes millions of visitors to our province every year. YVR’s public interest mandate, combined with our unique operating model, allows us to think strategically and make decisions with the future in mind.”

“We recognize this might not be a popular decision with the public, but the increase to the AIF is absolutely necessary for the long-term financial health of the airport and the benefit of our community. It is our responsibility to be stewards of this airport and ensure that in 20 years we see a thriving airport, still making good on our public mandate—and that we have not tied the hands of future boards that would have to make drastic decisions on cutting back on construction or changing the level of service.”

“When we looked out at our capital asset requirements, our debt load and interest coverage ratio, our anticipated passenger traffic and thus aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenue, we determined an increase is necessary to ensure the long-term financial health of the airport.”

“If we took away the AIF, YVR wouldn’t be able to keep up. We wouldn’t be able to make sound decisions that have the success of future generations in mind or meet regulatory requirements. Our infrastructure would wear down, the passenger experience would decline, people would choose other airports for connections and we would not be able to deliver on our public mandate to provide economic and social benefits to our communities.”

Seven charges laid following series of luggage thefts from Vancouver’s airport

News provided by the Vancouver Sun – link to full story and updates

Source: tru.ca

THE CANADIAN PRESS Updated: September 11, 2019

RICHMOND, B.C. — Seven charges have been laid after the RCMP investigated a series of luggage thefts at Vancouver International Airport.

Police say a Vancouver woman was arrested early last month.

The province’s prosecution service says it has approved seven counts of theft under $5,000 against a 26-year-old Miriam Tremblay.

Police say the alleged thefts occurred at luggage carousels in the airport’s domestic terminal between July 12 and Aug. 2.

Lufthansa Group to offer five Canadian gateways in 2020 with Ottawa as new addition

Provided by Lufthansa Group/CNW

  • Lufthansa begins flights to and from Ottawa, Canada – Frankfurt, Germany
  • Canadian passengers will have increased opportunities to experience Lufthansa Group carriers when traveling to Europe and beyond

EAST MEADOW, NY, Sept. 10, 2019 /CNW/ – Great news is coming for Lufthansa Group passengers in the Canadian capital. The group, Europe’s largest aviation company, will increase its number of gateways in Canada, commencing service from Ottawa to Frankfurt, Germany. On May 16th, 2020, Ottawa joins the four other Lufthansa Group Canadian gateways: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary.

The new Ottawa route, beginning on May 16, 2020 and lasting until October 24, 2020, will be a summer seasonal flight with an Airbus A340-300 offering a seat configuration of 30 Business Class seats, 28 Premium Economy Class Seats and 221 Economy Class seats. The flight will operate five times per week, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. LH 473 will depart Ottawa at 5:50pm and arrive the following day at Lufthansa’s Frankfurt hub at 7:15am. The return flight from Frankfurt – LH 472 – will depart at 1:45pm and arrive back in Ottawa at 4:05pm. All times are local.

“These are exciting times for the Lufthansa Group and its expansion, growth and increased capacity in North America. We have been serving Canada for over six decades and the ongoing expansion of our airlines flying to the region, especially the addition of the new Ottawa – Frankfurt route, underscores the Lufthansa Group’s ever-increasing commitment to the Canadian market, its economy and our customers,” said Hans DeHaan, Senior Director of Sales Canada, Lufthansa Group.

Onboard Experience

Lufthansa’s Ottawa service employs the Airbus A330-300 in a three-class cabin configuration. The aircraft includes 30 Business Class, 28 Premium Economy and 221 Economy Class seats to accommodate a total of 279 passengers. Lufthansa’s state-of-the-art aircraft offers customers an onboard experience that includes comfortable seating in all classes, acclaimed culinary offerings, a plethora of in-flight entertainment operations and Wi-Fi throughout the entire journey. As the only five-star-rated airline in the Western Hemisphere (certified by Skytrax), Lufthansa is one of a select group of airlines worldwide to earn the coveted rating.

Frankfurt, Germany’s most international city, offers a rich culture and history, with a population of about 5.6 million. The Frankfurt Rhine-Main metropolitan region is one of Europe’s leading economic centers and a popular travel destination. It is home to a wide range of tourist attractions and sights, including world-class ballet, opera, theaters and art exhibitions. As Germany’s fifth largest city, it is the nation’s financial powerhouse—home to the German Central Bank and the European Central bank, which manages the euro. It is also the gateway to Germany’s robust hi-tech scene.

The Lufthansa Group – with its airlines Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Edelweiss, Eurowings and Swiss International Air Lines – as well as its Star Alliance and joint venture partner Air Canada, additionally offer a large range of options to fly from Canada to Europe and beyond.  Passengers specifically arriving in Frankfurt can connect to over 1,300 destinations worldwide through Lufthansa Group carriers and Star Alliance partners—the world’s largest airline network.

Aside from the new Ottawa route, the Lufthansa Group also serves four other Canadian gateways:

Lufthansa Group in Montreal
Beginning in March 2020, Brussels Airlines will launch its new, non-stop seasonal service between Montréal, Quebec and Brussels, Belgium. With Brussels’ new gateway in Montreal, Lufthansa Group’s passenger airlines will be fully represented in this region, joining Austrian, which was successfully introduced to Montreal in April 2019, as well as Lufthansa and SWISS.

Lufthansa Group in Toronto
Lufthansa offers year-round, daily flights from Toronto to its two hubs in Frankfurt and Munich.

Lufthansa Group in Vancouver
Lufthansa and Edelweiss (a subsidiary of SWISS) fly to Vancouver. Lufthansa flies daily from Vancouver to its two main hubs in Frankfurt and Munich, while Edelweiss offers service from Vancouver to Zurich on a seasonal basis.

Lufthansa Group in Calgary
SWISS’s subsidiary, Edelweiss, offers seasonal flights from Calgary to Zurich. The next timetable runs from May – August 2020.

The New Service in Brief
2020 Summer Schedule (May 16th, 2020 – October 24th, 2020) in local time

LH473OttawaFrankfurt17:5007:15 (+1)Mon,Tu,Thu,Sat,

Canadian passengers scramble after British Airways cancels flights due to strike

News provided by BNN Bloomberg – link to full story and updates

The Associated Press, 9 September 2019

WATCH: Video

British Airways Pilots’ Two-Day Strike Grounds Nearly All Flights

LONDON — Canadian travel agencies are scrambling to help passengers whose British Airways flights have been cancelled on Monday and Tuesday after a pilots strike grounded the global carrier.

The airline says more than a dozen flights between Canada and London are slated to be cancelled over the two days, affecting about 3,500 passengers based on the size of the scheduled aircraft.

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport is most impacted with four flights each day. One arrival and one departure are cancelled over the two days in Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary.

“Customers were sent email notifications if they have been affected,” British Airways said in an advisory to travel agents.

Passengers can receive refunds or rebook for later flights. They may also be able to rebook on partner airlines such as American Airlines, Finnair and Aer Lingus, if seats are available.

Toronto travel agency TTI Travel says some customers have called to inquire but there doesn’t appear to be any alarm.

“We’ve been looking at flights and trying to re-accommodate them and make some decisions around how we support them and what those options are,” said TTI vice-president Lucy Lavigna.

Air Canada says it has added larger aircraft on the route between Toronto and London-Heathrow to accommodate increased demand it has seen in recent days.

“Last night we operated one flight on the route (we have four flights daily) with a 400-seat, Boeing 777 instead of the scheduled 298-seat Boeing 787-9, and will do the same tonight,” said spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick by email.

“That makes for a total of about 400 extra seats in the market. We continue to monitor the situation, but there are no plans for additional capacity at this time, in part because our aircraft are already committed under the existing schedule.”

WestJet Airlines said it’s “business as usual” for the Calgary-based airline.

British Airways cancelled almost all its flights for 48 hours, affecting as many as 195,000 travellers, due to a strike by pilots over pay.

The U.K.’s flagship carrier said in a statement Monday that it had “no way of predicting how many (pilots) would come to work or which aircraft they are qualified to fly.”

As a result, it said it had “no option but to cancel nearly 100 per cent” of its flights for the duration of the strike.

“We have supplemented our fleet by using aircraft and crew from other airlines (wet-leasing) and working with our partner airlines to schedule larger aircraft to take the maximum number of customers,” said the trade support website that details customer guidelines.

British Airways operates up to 850 flights a day. London’s sprawling Heathrow Airport was most affected by the work stoppage as it is the airline’s hub and is used for many of the company’s long-haul international flights.

The departure area at Heathrow Terminal 5 was almost empty, with only a handful of BA flights set to leave on Monday.

There were no queues at any of the check-in desks or security gates and only a handful of people waiting on benches. The terminal is typically quite busy.

British Airways said it stands ready to return to talks with the pilots’ union, Balpa, and that it has offered all affected customers full refunds or the option to rebook. The airline had been preparing for weeks for the strike, giving travellers advanced notice.

“We understand the frustration and disruption Balpa’s strike action has caused our customers,” it said.

“After many months of trying to resolve the pay dispute, we are extremely sorry that it has come to this.”

British Airways says it has offered pilots an 11.5 per cent pay raise over three years but the union says its members want a bigger share of the company’s profits.

The union accuses British Airways of making big profits at the expense of workers who made sacrifices during hard times. British Airways’ parent company, IAG, made a net profit of 2.9 billion euros (US$3.2 billion) last year.

Union leader Brian Strutton said pilots are determined to be heard.

“They’ve previously taken big pay cuts to help the company through hard times. Now BA is making billions of pounds of profit, its pilots have made a fair, reasonable and affordable claim for pay and benefits.”

A further strike is penciled in for Sept. 27.

— With files from The Canadian Press

Flair Airlines Reports 92% Load Factor for Summer 2019

Provided by Flair Airlines/Globe Newswire

Edmonton, Alberta, Sept. 05, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Flair Airlines, Canada’s only truly independent low cost airline, is pleased to report an average passenger load factor of 92% for July & August 2019. 

“We are delighted with the rapidly growing number of Canadians who have flocked to Flair this summer” said CEO Jim Scott. He continued ,“After only one year as an exclusively scheduled carrier we have established Flair as the place to go for low fares, great service and are already recognizing many return customers.”

During the summer, Edmonton-based Flair flew from Vancouver, Abbotsford, Kelowna, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto and Halifax. Flair successfully initiated daily non-stop service between Toronto (YYZ) and Vancouver as well as between Toronto and Calgary.

Over the last few months, as part of it’s fleet renewal program, Flair has added three newer Boeing 737-800NG aircraft and is gradually phasing out it’s older B737-400’s. All three additions sport Flair’s distinctive new livery and logo.

By next summer Flair plans to be operating a single-type fleet of B737-800 NG‘s, which are more fuel efficient and also have longer range capabilities. Flair’s unified fleet will open up a number of exciting southern destinations offered at accessible rates.

While Flair’s year-to-date on-time performance has been one of the best in Canada, the younger aircraft should serve to make it even better.

Flight to Vancouver from Shanghai diverted after crack found in window

News provided by CBC News – link to full story

The Air Canada plane was carrying 287 passengers

The Canadian Press · Posted: Sep 01, 2019

An Air Canada spokesperson did not share any information about the cause of the crack. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Air Canada says a flight from Shanghai to Vancouver was diverted to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport after a crack developed in one of the pilot’s windows.

The airline says the windows are double-paned and the diversion was essentially a precautionary measure.

The plane was a Boeing 787 carrying 287 passengers.

Air Canada says the passengers are staying in hotels while the aircraft is repaired.

It says the plane is set to leave Tokyo for Vancouver on Monday.

A spokesperson for the airline did not share any information about the cause of the crack.

Next-Generation Kiosks Transform Border Security At Barbados’ International Airport

Provided by Vancouver Airport Authority

Innovative technology expedites clearance process and improves passenger experience

Richmond, B.C. August 26, 2019: Today, Innovative Travel Solutions by Vancouver International Airport (YVR) announced the expansion of the border control program at Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) in Barbados with a total of 48 biometric-enabled kiosks now in use. This partnership utilizes ITS’ industry-leading self-service global border control solution, BorderXpress, to enhance security, speed of service and improve the overall passenger experience.

“As air travel continues to experience remarkable growth, we understand the need for greater innovation to solve passenger processing challenges. As an airport operator ourselves, we prioritize researching and designing technology to improve the overall travellers’ experience, not only at our own airport, but across the travel industry,” says Chris Gilliland, Director of Innovative Travel Solutions, Vancouver Airport Authority. “We are proud to expand our global border control solution in Barbados. This is an exciting milestone for our team as we continue to work with airports and governments around the world to meet their critical passenger processing needs.”

BorderXpress was first implemented at GAIA as a pilot program with 16 kiosks in August 2018. The technology has simplified the border clearance process, significantly reducing wait times for passengers at GAIA. The program has now been expanded to include a total of 48 kiosks, available for use by all arriving passengers, expanding from the original use being limited to residents from Barbados, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) region and those who hold permanent or indefinite status in Barbados.

Using the kiosks, passengers scan their travel documents, complete their declaration and eligible travellers will verify their identity and admissibility using facial recognition technology before proceeding to a border services officer for final inspection. This process ultimately reduces time spent with the border services officers and decreases overall processing times for arriving passengers.

“The implementation of an additional 32 BorderXpress kiosks at Grantley Adams International Airport will ultimately simplify the border clearance process for all arriving passengers and reduce wait times significantly,” adds Gilliland. “BorderXpress continues to prove its effectiveness globally and we are excited to explore new opportunities to optimize the border clearance process for passengers, airports and governments.”

BorderXpress kiosks are proven to reduce passenger wait times by more than 60 per cent. In a recently published White Paper by InterVISTAS, the study concluded that the use of kiosks for border control significantly outperforms competing technologies, such as eGates, providing a much higher throughput of passengers. This results in cost and space savings and supports border authorities, allowing their officers to focus on maintaining the safety of the border, rather than administrative duties. BorderXpress provides better exception handling, is fully accessible to persons with disabilities, and can be configured with any desired languages. It can process any passenger, including families travelling as a group.

BorderXpress technology was developed by Innovative Travel Solutions, an independent business unit within Vancouver International Airport (YVR), named Best Airport in North America for 10 consecutive years. ITS specializes in delivering industry-leading travel technology to transform the traveller’s experience. Since 2009, ITS has sold over 1,600 kiosks at 43 airport and seaport locations around the world, helping more than 250 million passengers clear the border safely and securely.

Whitehorse man claims Air Canada lost his dog, leading to 30-hour ordeal

News provided by CBC News – link to full story and updates

Airline says dog was not lost and it will reach out to Bobbie Milnes directly

CBC News · Posted: Aug 22, 2019

Bobbie Milnes and his dog Spruce. Milnes chose not to fly to Whitehorse when Spruce, who was checked in a crate, missed the flight that Milnes and his family were travelling on to Vancouver. (Submitted by Bobbie Milnes)

A Whitehorse man is frustrated and looking for compensation after being separated from his dog during a cross-country flight turned into a 30-hour ordeal.

Bobbie Milnes, his wife, and two daughters recently returned to Yukon after visiting relatives in Eastern Canada. Their flight path home, via Air Canada, was relatively simple: Toronto, to Vancouver, and up to Whitehorse.

Accompanying them, as he had several times, was their dog Spruce, who was in a crate and checked through to Whitehorse. 

However, when their Vancouver flight landed, Milnes says he was called to the front of the plane, where he was given some unwelcome news: Spruce wasn’t on their flight.

“They said: ‘your dog is on a flight, but it’s not your flight,'” he said. “It’s on its way now, but it won’t be here until just after midnight.”

Eventually, Milnes and Spruce were able to go to a hotel, but only had a few hours to rest before heading back to the Vancouver airport. (Submitted by Bobbie Milnes)

Milnes and his family, who landed around 7 p.m., had a tight connection to their Whitehorse-bound flight. The decision was made for Milnes to stay in Vancouver and wait for Spruce, while his wife and daughters continued on with their luggage.

Just after midnight, Milnes was reunited with Spruce, who “was a total mess,” Milnes said. 

“She was pretty upset … the crate was just soaked in I don’t know what. It was not good.”

Milnes and Spruce were both re-booked on the first flight to Whitehorse the next morning and Air Canada gave them a hotel room. They wouldn’t have much time to sleep — the next flight out was just after 7 a.m. — but that was just the beginning.

‘I could walk around with dignity’

Milnes returned to the airport at about 6 a.m. to check Spruce in for the flight. Without any luggage, he used his belt as a leash and fed her bacon and eggs from a sandwich.

However, the pair received unwelcome news at the check-in counter — the early flight to Whitehorse was full. 

Frustrated, Milnes asked to speak with a manager.

“I said, you know, I’m sorry, but I’m tired, I’m stressed, I was supposed to be on this flight,” he said. “My dog was missing, I’ve been separated from my family, all of these things.

“And she looked at me and said, “Sir, that was the past. This is the present.'”

Unsatisfied, Milnes spoke with another manager — and then another one. On his third attempt, the manager listened to his concerns, Milnes said, and provided him with a leash for Spruce, allowing him to put his belt back on.

“I could walk around with dignity. And my dog.”

With his luggage home with his family in Whitehorse, Milnes used his belt as a leash for Spruce. (Submitted by Bobbie Milnes)

That manager booked Milnes and Spruce on a 2:30 p.m. flight home and gave them a day room in a hotel.

“So, in the end, by the time I landed, [it] was about 30 hours,” he said. “What should have been a seven-hour travel experience was about 30 hours.”

Airline says dog wasn’t lost

In a statement, Air Canada said “this passenger’s dog was never lost,” but was “inadvertently not boarded on the same flight as the passenger.” The airline said it would be reaching out directly to Milnes.

Milnes said he did receive an apology over the phone from Air Canada, but disputes the airline’s claim that his dog was not lost at the Toronto airport.

“They lost it in Pearson,” he said. “They didn’t have it on our flight.”

He said he’s seeking financial compensation.

“In the end, they could provide no assurances of what would happen to our dog. Obviously, we couldn’t trust them anymore.”

Check pets as cargo, says expert

John Gradek, a lecturer in aviation management at McGill University, suggests that Air Canada passengers ship their pets as cargo. (McGill University)

John Gradek, a lecturer in aviation management at McGill University, says there are “very little statutory rules” for airlines when it comes to dealing with a live animal checked as luggage.

The animals are held with other baggage, he explained, with no facility to provide special handling. Airlines have their own internal rules, but many do not handle the animals in any way, he said, to prevent potential escapes from crates.

This doesn’t change even if the animal is delayed in their trip, he said.

“They don’t know if that dog’s been there two hours, four hours, 12 hours, 18 hours,” he said. “They have no way of knowing.”

Instead, Gradek recommends that pets be shipped via Air Canada cargo, which he says “has done a great job” in defining their processes around shipping live animals. Passengers can request that their pet be shipped on their same flight, he said.

The option may be more expensive and requires checking in and picking up the animal at the cargo terminal, “but from a pet care perspective, the Air Canada cargo option is what I would do when I’m travelling with my dog,” Gradek said.

As for Spruce, Milnes said she’s “recovering,” and that everything is getting back to normal. 

Will he fly with Air Canada again?

“Certainly not with the dog,” he said. “I think that is an achievable goal, never flying Air Canada with a dog again.”

Written by Garrett Hinchey, with files from Elyn Jones, George Maratos

WestJet Link giving Cranbrook another hub option

Provided by WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership/CNW

WestJet’s regional airline to begin service to Vancouver, October 27

CALGARY, Aug. 12, 2019 /CNW/ – WestJet today announced that its regional airline, WestJet Link, will begin operating nonstop flights between Vancouver and Cranbrook, B.C., on October 27, 2019.

WestJet Link announces new route between Vancouver and Cranbrook, B.C. (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)
WestJet Link announces new route between Vancouver and Cranbrook, B.C. (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)

“This new route linking interior British Columbia with our Vancouver hub provides convenient travel options between the two areas and gives our guests in Cranbrook access to a second WestJet hub with connections across our entire network,” said Brian Znotins, WestJet Vice-President Network Planning and Alliances. “WestJet is now providing the City of Cranbrook with the most flights and options to travel easily across the country and beyond.”

With the addition of Vancouver-Cranbrook, WestJet Link will now operate six routes including Calgary to Cranbrook, Lethbridge, Prince George, Lloydminster and Medicine Hat.

“We are delighted to welcome WestJet Link’s daily service from Vancouver to Cranbrook,” said Anne Murray, Vice President, Airline Business Development and Public Affairs, Vancouver Airport Authority. “As Canada’s second busiest airport, Vancouver International Airport proudly links passengers to cities in British Columbia, North America and around the world. WestJet Link’s route to Cranbrook connects customers to a great B.C. destination and drives economic benefits for our region.”

“The expansion of WestJet’s service, now linking the Kootenay Rockies to both WestJet’s Calgary and Vancouver hubs is a fantastic boost to our inbound visitor economy, while providing a robust global network of travel options for the Kootenay Region,” said Tristen Chernove, CEO of Elevate Airports Inc. and Canadian Rockies International Airport Manager. “The Canadian Rockies International Airport is driven to be the strongest economic catalyst possible for our region and WestJet’s growing air service is helping us reach our goals. We’re excited to see this new service coming in October and look forward to sharing a bright future of success with WestJet at YXC.” 

All WestJet Link flights are operated through a capacity purchase agreement with Pacific Coastal by using its fleet of 34-seat Saab 340B aircraft. Each aircraft includes six seats available in WestJet Premium, offering guests advanced boarding, no-charge for two checked bags and seating at the front of the aircraft.

Details of WestJet Link’s service between Vancouver and Cranbrook:

Daily11:45 a.m.12:25 p.m.October 27, 
Daily1:35 p.m.4:05 p.m.October 27, 

At least one YVR arrival cancelled as protests continue at Hong Kong airport

News provided by The Vancouver Sun – link to full story and updates

Air Canada flight AC 8 was scheduled to arrive at Vancouver International Airport at 4:45 p.m. Monday evening but as been cancelled.

BLOOMBERG NEWS Updated: August 12, 2019

Protesters walk on a highway near Hong Kong’s international airport following a protest against the police brutality and the controversial extradition bill on August 12, 2019. VIVEK PRAKASH/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Ongoing protests at Hong Kong’s airport prompted the cancellation of Monday’s flights, including one bound for Vancouver.

Air Canada flight AC 8 was scheduled to arrive at Vancouver International Airport at 4:45 p.m. Monday evening but as been cancelled. Cathay Pacific’s flight CX 810 is delayed but due to arrive at 2:46 p.m.

Hong Kong airport authorities cancelled remaining flights on Monday after protesters swarmed the main terminal building for a fourth day. It was the biggest disruption yet to the city’s economy since demonstrations began in early June.

Thousands of black-clad protesters on Monday packed the arrival area, where they had gathered for a three-day sit-in that was originally planned to end Sunday night. The protests, initially sparked by opposition to a bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China, have become increasingly violent in recent weeks, with demonstrators targeting public transportation in a bid to pressure the government.

It was unclear how many flights were impacted, according to Doris Lai, a spokesperson for the Hong Kong Airport Authority. The airport said in an earlier statement that it was aiming to restore operations as soon as possible after canceling all flights for the rest of the day, except those already in the air.

Shares of Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., Hong Kong’s main airline, tumbled to a 10-year low after the news. The government planned a press briefing for 5:15 p.m. local time. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index came off its session high and contracts for all three main U.S. equity indexes erased earlier gains.

China stepped up its rhetoric on Monday, saying protesters have committed serious crimes and showed signs of “terrorism.” Hong Kong has come to a “critical juncture” and all people who care about its future should say no to violence, Yang Guang, a spokesman for its Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, told reporters on Monday as protesters gathered at the airport.


“All those who care about Hong Kong’s future should come out and stand against all criminal acts and perpetrators of violence,” Yang told reporters.

The protests have evolved into the biggest challenge to Chinese control since the U.K. relinquished its former colony in 1997. The social unrest has hurt the economy and impacted daily life in one of the world’s most densely crowded cities, raising concern that Beijing will use force to restore order.

Stoking those fears, the Communist Party-backed Global Times reported on Monday that the Chinese People’s Armed Police have been assembling across the border in Shenzhen ahead of “apparent large-scale exercises.”

Tang Ping-keung, deputy commissioner of police, said it was too early to say whether force would be used to clear the airport. “It will be up to commander to decide” whether to use tear gas, he told reporters.

Authorities had deployed more aggressive tactics during the weekend protests, with riot police videotaped beating demonstrators in subway stations and officers going undercover to infiltrate the group and make arrests. The violent scenes emerged as protesters used flash mobs across the city, surrounding police stations, disrupting traffic, and hurling projectiles including bricks and petrol bombs. One officer was taken to the hospital after suffering burns in the upmarket shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui. Mob violence broke out elsewhere.

Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets at various locations — including inside a metro station for the first time. Dramatic videos showed riot police firing weapons at close range and beating some protesters, many of whom wore yellow hard hats and gas masks. Some 13 protesters were injured, including two in serious condition, RTHK reported, citing hospital authorities.

Hong Kong Cancels Monday Flights as Protesters Swarm Airport

Cathay Pacific has come under fire after some of its employees joined the demonstrations. A Chinese state-run company told employees not to fly Cathay Pacific on business or personal trips, according to people familiar with the matter.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has refused to yield to a series of demands, including that she withdraw the bill and step down from her position. Authorities in Beijing remain supportive of her government, which has warned of an economic crisis if the demonstrations drag on.

The protesters are resorting to flash mobs and violence as their numbers diminish, according to Steve Vickers, chief executive officer of risk consultancy Steve Vickers and Associates and a former head of the Royal Hong Kong Police Criminal Intelligence Bureau.

“The government’s policy of sitting on their hands and hiding behind the police is actually working,” Vickers told Bloomberg Television on Monday. “The numbers are declining, the level of violence is increasing. As violence increases, the more middle class people and ordinary people of Hong Kong will turn against this movement.”

China in recent weeks has toughened its stance toward the movement and doubled down on its support for the police. The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, its top agency overseeing the former British colony’s affairs, has held unprecedented briefings condemning violent protesters and called on the people of Hong Kong to oppose them. An overseas edition of the Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily said last month that police should take stern action to restore order.

Anti-extradition bill protesters rally at the departure hall of Hong Kong airport in Hong Kong

Hong Kong called former deputy police commissioner Lau Yip-shing out of retirement last week to handle major upcoming public events including celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in October. Lau had overseen the government’s crackdown on protesters during the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy movement.

Authorities had denied permits over the weekend for protests in all but Victoria Park, but demonstrators took to the streets anyway. Police made more arrests on Sunday after detaining 16 people on Saturday, with local media reporting that officers may be dressing as protesters and infiltrating their ranks to help with detentions.

China’s civil aviation authority had earlier told Cathay Pacific to ban all employees who supported or joined the recent protests from flying to the mainland, one of the strongest signs yet that Beijing is losing its patience with the demonstrations.

Cathay suspended a pilot from flying who had been detained while participating in a protest, the airline said in a statement. It also fired two workers for “misconduct.” They allegedly leaked information about the travel arrangements of a Hong Kong police soccer team, the South China Morning Post reported.

“As always our actions and responsibilities are focused on the safety and security of our operations,” the airline said.

This weekend’s protests come days after a general strike that disrupted the financial hub’s morning rush hour, leaving traffic jammed, subway lines suspended and dozens of flights canceled. Those demonstrations also ended in tear gas and dispersal operations.

“It’s affected business tremendously — all businesses basically,” Allan Zeman, chairman of Hong Kong’s Lan Kwai Fong Group, which operates restaurants and bars in the city, told Bloomberg Television. “We have to stop the violence. That’s the most important thing. Then we can talk.”

–with files from Postmedia