Vancouver International Airport is now a parking lot of stationary planes (PHOTOS)

Mar 26 2020, 5:12 pm

The last time Vancouver International Airport (YVR) experienced such a surreal airside situation was on 9/11, when Canadian airports enacted Operation Yellow Ribbon.

On September 11, 2001, YVR welcomed 34 flights carrying 8,500 passengers that were bound for other destinations along the west coast of the United States. The tarmac became a days-long parking lot for aircraft that were ordered to immediately divert to YVR to prevent them from being used as weapons for further acts of terrorism.

This time around, the deteriorating circumstances surrounding COVID-19 will likely be prolonged — a months-long situation of numerous planes remaining parked at YVR. Of course, global air travel demand has plummeted, with travellers cancelling their trips over coronavirus concerns, governments enacting restrictive measures and suspending routes, and airlines proactively adjusting their routes and capacity.

 

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As of this week, WestJet alone has over a dozen large aircraft parked in a row on YVR’s crosswind runway. The airline is operating limited domestic services, and has suspended all US transborder and international flights until further notice.

Air Canada continues to operate globally, but it has also reduced its capacity significantly. A number of its smaller Air Canada Express aircraft are parked near its hangar facilities on Sea Island.

 

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Both Canadian airlines have temporarily laid off approximately 10,000 employees combined in recent days.

But these sights of rows of parked furloughed are not unique to YVR; airports around the world, especially major international hub airports, are also being turned into temporary parking lots for commercial aircraft.

 

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