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Airline security tightened

Travellers can expect longer waits at airport

Thorunn Howatt
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Oct 03/01) - Transport Canada has posted what they call the definitive list of air travel rules and regulations. The requirements will cause more delays for air travellers.

NNSL photo

Air travellers check through Yellowknife's airport security last Monday after Transport Canada finalized its security measures following the World Trade Center tragedy. - Thorunn Howatt/NNSL photo

The hold-ups include mandatory checks for every fourth passenger moving through security. Business travellers can expect to turn on laptop computers and prove function.

"It's difficult to change regulations," said acting Yellowknife airport manager Ben Webber. "But measures have been tightened."

The security measures became effective last Monday.

"It will slow things up," said Webber, who wouldn't say what the new rules were about.

Transport Canada also refused to talk about the new measures because it wanted to have the element of surprise on its side.

"Those measures are not necessarily going to be seen," said Webber.

"Probably the biggest thing we're faced with right now is trying to keep track of the new rules and regulations and making sure we're onside and compliant with them," said Canadian North vice-president Michael King.

Canadian North holding steady

Despite the huge impact on the airline industry as a whole -- last month NWT statistics reported travel in the territory was down more than nine per cent -- Canadian reports it has been able to weather the storm so far.

"Our advance bookings are holding steady," said King. "We took a bit of a hit like everyone else."

Canadian North has benefitted from a Northern industrial boom caused by a diamond rush as well as speculation of a Mackenzie Valley pipeline.

"The Diavik project has certainly not slowed down at all. The development in the Delta is just starting to get into their season now and starting to spool up for the winter."

October and November are typically a time when most aircraft are filled with business travellers.

"There is not a lot of leisure travel this year and in fact it's a slow time for us anyway," said King.

Canadian North has suffered from cancellations since Sept. 11.

"It's not a huge factor at this point," said King.

Although the new safety measures prohibit the use of metal-serrated knives, plastic utensils or smooth-edged butter knives can still be used for meal service.