Frustrations sky-high at Nanaimo Airport after security machine breakdown

By Ian Holmes
February 14, 2018 - 3:04pm

The X-ray security scanner at Nanaimo Airport is currently broken, forcing searches by hand. The machine is expected to be fixed by Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — A broken down X-ray security scanner at Nanaimo Airport led to missed flights and plenty of irritated passengers.

Airport president Mike Hooper said their only X-ray scanner to check luggage broke down Monday afternoon, causing delays as staff check each piece of luggage by hand.

An Air Canada representative told NanaimoNewsNOW 10 to 15 people missed outgoing flights from Nanaimo and “lots of people” have missed connecting flights.

“There is frustration,” Hooper said. “Any time that there's a slow down or a change in how you go through a security process there is always a bit of frustration.”

Hooper said the scanner is expected to be fixed by later Wednesday or Thursday morning at the latest. He said the X-ray device falls under the watch of Transport Canada and is operated by a security company.

Hooper said while they are listening to all concerns from travelers, it's up to air carriers to address passengers who have missed flights as a result of the malfunction. The Airport used its Facebook and Twitter accounts to announce it was dealing with security delays and passengers should arrive an hour early. An alert was also placed on the Airport's website.

Jessica Boyd's husband ended up missing a day of work due to delays as he tried to fly from Nanaimo to Edmonton Tuesday morning to his oil patch job. Boyd told NanaimoNewsNOW he was met with an exceptionally long line and waited for up to two hours.

The plane he was catching from Nanaimo left 90 minutes late, he ended up missing both connections and spent 24 hours in airports, Boyd said, noting the flight out of Nanaimo was held back because of the security backlog.

“They (Air Canada) wouldn't put him up in a hotel. The airline said it wasn't their fault the plane was late, it was security problems so there was nothing they could do for him.”

Boyd said they didn't hear anything from Nanaimo Airport about security issues or potential delays.

“There was no email, nothing. There was a nice little table with water on it for you just in case you were thirsty while waiting.”

Meanwhile, Hooper anticipated the federal government would provide funding for a second X-ray machine at Nanaimo Airport, which he hoped would arrive in two months.

“We've put in a request for a second line so we'll have two lines at the Nanaimo Airport going forward...that way if one ever breaks down they'll use the other one.”

— with files from Dominic Abassi


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On Twitter: @reporterholmes


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