Passengers face long lines at Vancouver airport amid security screener shortage

·2 min read
Passengers at Vancouver International Airport have been advised to arrive three hours ahead of their scheduled departure amid an unexpected shortage of security screening officers.  (CBC - image credit)
Passengers at Vancouver International Airport have been advised to arrive three hours ahead of their scheduled departure amid an unexpected shortage of security screening officers. (CBC - image credit)

Passengers at Vancouver International Airport faced long lines at security checkpoints on Sunday due to a shortage of security screening officers.

In a statement, YVR attributed the delays to a "significant and unexpected staffing shortage" faced by the security screening provider contracted by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), the federal Crown corporation responsible for all passenger security screening. CATSA contracts out security services at various airports to third-party employers, such as Allied Universal at YVR.

Passengers continue to be processed through security screening, but are experiencing longer than normal wait times at pre-board screening points for domestic and international departures, the airport authority said.

Video posted to social media showed a long line at a security checkpoint for U.S. departures.

WATCH | Passengers wait in long security lines at Vancouver airport: 

The airport said additional staff have been brought in to help travellers and support security-screening staff and thanked passengers for their patience.

It recommended passengers arrive at YVR three hours before departure until further notice. It also said there have been delayed flights and passengers should check the status of their flight with their airline.

The airport said there was no significant increase in passenger numbers on Sunday. The airport averaged 67,000 passengers a day this week, while 69,000 are expected on Sunday,

"This is not the experience we want people to have at YVR and we apologize," the statement said.

In a statement, CATSA said its service contractor, Allied Universal, is experiencing "high absenteeism" among screening officers at YVR.

"We are doing the best we can with the resources available," the statement reads.

Security screeners held a rally back in May calling for better pay and working conditions at Vancouver International Airport.

A union spokesperson said at the time that many security screeners who were laid off during the pandemic didn't return to the job when travel demand picked up. Those who did come back faced subpar wages and challenging working conditions.