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YVR Gearing up for Busiest Day Ever

November 17, 2009

2010 Winter Games readiness plans focus on customer care, winter operations, and oversized baggage

Richmond, B.C. (November 17, 2009): Vancouver Airport Authority today announced its 2010 Winter Games operational plans which include the permanent addition of new snow removal and de-icing resources, a two-fold increase in volunteers, and programs to manage significant volumes of passengers and oversized baggage. A full-scale de-icing exercise took place on an Air Canada Boeing 767 to demonstrate the new winter operations equipment.

YVR’s plans are based on an additional 231,000 passengers forecast to travel through the airport during the 2010 Winter Games period. And while an average passenger in February carries 1.6 pieces of luggage, Games athletes will travel with an average of 6 pieces, most of them oversized. The Airport Authority anticipates that March 1, 2010, the day following the Closing Ceremonies, will be the busiest day in YVR history, with 39,000 people and upwards of 77,000 pieces of luggage departing YVR.

“We know that our biggest challenge will be moving the increased volumes of people, planes and bags through our airport systems as quickly and efficiently as possible,” says Don Ehrenholz, Vice President, Airport Operations, Vancouver Airport Authority. “We’ve developed a reservations system for landings and takeoffs, centralized our de-icing system, increased our snow removal equipment, and will be taking a ‘virtual YVR’ to the athletes’ villages so that athletes and officials can check in there, just as they would at the airport.”

“As the Official Airport of the 2010 Winter Games, we’re confident YVR is ready to help us host the world in less than 90 days time,” said Jan Damnavits, Director, Event Services and Venue Management for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). “More than 6,500 athletes and officials from around the world will be part of the 2010 Winter Games, along with tens of thousands of spectators and media whose first experience with Canada’s Games will be through the gates of YVR.”

Customer care enhancements include doubling the number of Green Coat volunteers, increasing the number of specialized wheelchairs for aircraft, and training more than 5,500 front-line airport employees on how to help customers find their way around YVR and the city during Games time.

“Every department at Air Canada is involved in preparations for the upcoming Olympic Winter Games,” said Lisa Pierce, Air Canada’s Senior Director – Olympics Airport Interface. “Our aircraft planning people and our airport teams around the world have plans in place to ensure we maintain a robust operation network-wide even in the face of the unexpected. Technology is playing a key role in how we will be streamlining the airport experience for customer handling and baggage. We are also working together with the Vancouver Airport Authority to minimize congestion with off-site check-in and a satellite facility adjacent to YVR. As the Official Airline of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, we are ready, and we look forward to bringing the world to Vancouver.” “We’ve been preparing to welcome the world since the day we learned that Vancouver had won the bid to host the 2010 Winter Games,” says Paul Levy, Vice President, Planning 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Games, Vancouver Airport Authority. “We want every passenger to have a great experience in our airport as their first and last impressions of our city, province and country.”

About Vancouver Airport Authority Vancouver Airport Authority is a community-based, not-for-profit organization that operates Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Canada's second busiest airport, YVR welcomed 17.9 million people in 2008, and is the Official Airport of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. 70 airlines serve YVR, including scheduled carriers, charters, code share and cargo carriers which connect travellers to more than 130 destinations in Canada, the U.S. and around the world.


For further information:
Media Relations
Vancouver Airport Authority

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