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YVR to unveil plan to prevent holiday travel chaos

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Vancouver International Airport has invested $40 million into a plan it says will prevent another winter holiday nightmare for travellers.

The airport says it has taken a number of steps to prepare for stormy, snowy weather after operations ground to a halt during the peak of the 2022 Christmas travel season.

"These 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, use of digital sensors to enable more efficient passenger flow, and implementing new digital tools to help passengers save time throughout the travel process," a spokesperson wrote in a statement.

Last year, a powerful storm ripped through the region, causing over 1,300 flights to be cancelled or delayed, and disrupting the travel of 180,000 people. Some travellers were forced to wait on the tarmac for 11 hours, while others were left stranded, sleeping on the floors of the terminal as piles of lost luggage grew.

The chaos prompted an "after-action review" involving the airport, passengers, employees, airlines and consulting firms. That review, provided a "roadmap to improve resiliency and better support passengers during major weather events,” said Tamara Vrooman, Vancouver International Airport president and CEO in a news release.

This December, the airport is expecting 250,000 more passengers to travel through than last year. The busiest days will be Dec. 20, 21, and 22.

CTV News is scheduled to get a behind-the-scenes look Tuesday at the airport's improved winter preparedness plan.

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