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YVR's Snow Team Has No Chill

The recent major snowfall at YVR was a real test of the team’s snow preparedness. And while the winter wonderland is a nice change of pace for Vancouver, the safety and security of our travellers depend on the snow being managed efficiently and effectively.

At YVR, we take winter operations very seriously, with planning and preparation starting as early as summer. Our team works proactively to conduct training exercises, prepare specialized equipment, and develop plans for the winter months. Throughout the year, we also work with a meteorologist who tracks weather trends and predictions, so we can get real-time information about when to expect the first flake to fall. And when the snow does fall, our team works closely with Aeromag, who manages the de-icing process for airplanes before takeoff. 

As a result of these combined efforts, when faced with severe weather conditions, our team is prepared to take action and ensure that operations continue to run safely and smoothly.

Beyond this, we have also invested over $75 million into our runway and taxiway snow removal fleet. This is a significant investment, allowing YVR to purchase 82 pieces of specialized equipment including the recent addition of two combination units that plow, broom and spread chemical primary on taxiways. Sounds pretty neat, hey? Take a look below to see some of the fleet in action.

Some of my favourite trucks are the high-tech snow-melting machines, known as ‘hot tubs’, that are each the size of a semi-trailer and able to melt 20 truckloads of snow per hour. With this impressive fleet, our snow removal team can clear the equivalent of Granville Street, full width and full length, from the Fraser River to Burrard Inlet, in less than 15 minutes!

As you can imagine, there are a lot of moving parts and teams involved in snow operations at the airport and managing the airfield during winter conditions is no simple feat. From airside operations and ground handlers to airlines and the incredible employees and volunteers in the terminal, I’d like to give a big shout out to everyone who helped ensure the safety of our passengers this past month. To all the people who worked early hours and late nights, I thank you for your dedication and commitment to providing a top-notch experience to all who pass through YVR. And lastly to our passengers and airline partners for their patience and understanding.

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