Vancouver Airport Authority has released an action plan designed to improve resiliency, better support passengers during major weather events.
The comprehensive review identifies 25 actions that the authority hopes will strengthen operations during increasingly common extreme weather events.
A C$40m action plan will add new staff, improve training, better leverage technology, increase communication, and invest in additional equipment to keep more aircraft moving and passengers better informed. This plan follows a comprehensive After-Action Review of the December 17-28, 2022, travel disruption at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) as well as direct feedback from over 1,500 passengers and members of the public.
“While the review confirms our safety promise was kept, it shows that our customer service commitment was not,” said Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of Vancouver Airport Authority. “Passengers clearly told us that, while they recognise aviation is a complex ecosystem of different partners and players, they want YVR to take a leading role in providing more information, better access to front-line staff, and other improvements in times of extreme travel disruption -- this action plan provides our roadmap for doing just that.”
The review highlights both the changing realities of passenger and aircraft traffic post-COVID, as well as the impact of climate change and more extreme weather events. This puts additional strain on airside services including aprons, gates, and ground handling. While these services perform well during regular operations, the systems and processes the airport community has historically relied on must be made more resilient and adaptable for more frequent and extreme weather disruptions.
The five key focus areas, with a total of 25 supporting actions, outlined in the review include:
- Enhancing winter and irregular operations – installation of new real-time weather monitoring equipment, new gate protocols to ensure arriving aircraft can deplane passengers within 30 minutes of taxiing off the runway, additional winter weather equipment and de-icing fluid storage capacity to meet the new realities of sustained, extreme weather events
- Enhancing cross-team collaboration – additional information sharing across different airport partners as well as establishing a permanent team from across the Airport Authority and partners to enhance decision-making and improve passenger focus
- Accelerating investments in technology and data – better prioritisation of aircraft on the airfield as well as an improved ability to track delayed baggage through real-time technology and data including a new digital apron monitoring tool
- Enhancing in-terminal passenger supports – more staff will be trained to directly support travellers using better, up-to-date information throughout the terminal 24/7. There will also be a focus on improved digital communications directly to passengers in the terminal about resources available, including accessibility services.
- Enhancing communications to passengers and public – YVR will commit to sharing more information more often. The airport will also make better use of its website and leverage stakeholders, partners, and other organisations to get people the updates they need in a more reliable and consistent way. There will be regular public reporting on YVR’s on-time performance, baggage performance, security screening times.
“I want to thank our partners, employees, members of the public, and passengers who took the time to participate in this process,” said Vrooman. “We have already started to implement many of these actions and your contributions will help us improve resiliency and better serve travellers and our community into the future.”
Image: Vancouver Airport Authority