The level of security at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) has been increased this morning in light of the terror attacks in Brussels.
At 8 a.m. Brussels time, two bombings ripped through the terminal building of Zaventem International Airport. A third explosion occurred shortly after at Maelbeek metro station, near the principle institutions of the European Union. At least 34 people are dead and hundreds are injured from the blasts.
Airport officials told Vancity Buzz that they are working to add security staff and add RCMP presence in the airport.
“The federal Government of Canada is monitoring the situation and has not raised the threat level,” Christopher Richards, a spokesperson for Vancouver Airport Authority, told Vancity Buzz. “We continue to work with the RCMP and all of our partners to add resources and increase the vigilance throughout the airport.”
At this time, there are no impacts to flights at YVR as the airport does not have direct flights to the Belgian capital, but travellers should be warned that they could experience delays or cancellations at other airports en route to Brussels.
All flights today to and from Zaventem Airport have been cancelled, including four departing flights to and from Pearson International Airport in Toronto. Thousands of passengers on flights in the air bound for Brussels have been diverted to other airports.
Security measures are also being reevaluated and heightened at other major North American and European airports.
TransLink’s Transit Police has stepped up its security on Metro Vancouver’s public transit system with the deployment of additional police officers and bomb sniffing dogs.
The federal government has warned Canadians travelling to or already in Brussels to be extra vigilant. A travel advisory has been issued for the city:
“You should exercise a high degree of caution due to the current elevated threat of terrorism… Transportation authorities have closed the metro lines and other public transportation systems have stopped running. Local authorities are asking the public to remain indoors as the situation continues to develop. If you are in Brussels, avoid heading to the airport and contact your transportation carrier to find out how the situation may affect your travel plans. Remain vigilant, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local news, including social media.”