An Air Canada flight from the Comox Airport (YQQ) to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) was delayed almost four hours Friday morning, after the discovery of a suspicious package on-board the aircraft.
Passengers boarded AC8306 with a departure time of 6:05 a.m. for a 30-minute flight to Vancouver, but were asked to leave the aircraft and remain in the terminal area away from the windows of the boarding lounge.
Debbie Bowman, one of the passengers en route to Vancouver said military members and police were called right away and noted everyone at the airport followed a strict protocol.
Fred Bigelow, CEO of the Comox Airport confirmed all security procedures were followed and as 19 Wing Comox members and the RCMP were examining the aircraft, a passenger called the airport looking for a lost bag.
“Simultaneously … it turned out to be her bag that she had inadvertently left on the aircraft last night. Normally that kind of package would be found when the aircraft is cleaned but it wasn’t for reasons I don’t know. The aircraft was searched by the RCMP and confirmed it was this lady’s package – her bag with a laptop.”
Bigelow credited the co-operation between 19 Wing and the RCMP, who work together practicing airport exercises.
“… and today just shows that training pays off,” he added.
“(Overall it was) a pretty minor impact on our passengers and except for those Air Canada passengers that were delayed, it all went well. It’s unfortunate for those passengers because many will be connecting through Vancouver – it’s a great flight to connect domestically and internationally.”
Bigelow confirmed the bomb disposal robot was called to the airport, but to his knowledge was not put into use.
The flight was able to depart YQQ at 9:45 a.m. and landed in Vancouver at 10:13 a.m. and operations at the airport returned to normal.
A WestJet arrival from Calgary was postponed while the situation played out.
A Pacific Coastal flight to Vancouver was rescheduled to depart from Campbell River. Passengers were shuttled to the Campbell River Airport.