An RCMP incident has closed Victoria’s airport to commercial flights Tuesday.
The Victoria Airport Authority confirmed police are responding to a call at the airport.
Sidney/North Saanich RCMP said in a release that officers are responding to a threat, which Cpl. Andres Sanchez told the Canadian Press appears to be “an incendiary device” in someone’s luggage.
Sanchez said the suspicious package was identified in the departures check-in area of the airport around 1:30 pm during a security scan.
He said it was seized by Canadian Air Transport Security Authority staff and a wing of the airport was closed to ensure travelers were safe. Police and specialized units from the Lower Mainland have been called in to inspect the item.
RCMP said there are no public safety concerns but the public should avoid the airport for at least the next several hours.
Travelers are asked not to come to the airport and to check their flight status with their carrier, or on the airport website.
“Victoria Airport Authority cannot comment further at this time. We will endeavor to provide more information as soon as it becomes available,” the authority said in a tweet.
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Sanchez told the Canadian Press that the individual carrying the suspicious luggage is under investigation but police will have to determine the nature of the item before proceeding with any possible charges.
An update posted to the airport’s Facebook page just after 4:30 pm said airlines were working with their operations teams to determine the status of flights, and those scheduled over the next two to three hours were canceled.
A statement from WestJet said six flights had been canceled as a result of the temporary closure.
“All guests impacted by the listed cancellations have been proactively notified and re-accommodated,” it said.
Around 6:45 pm, the airport’s website showed five Air Canada flights between 3:30 and 8:20 pm had been cancelled. An Air Canada flight to Calgary scheduled to leave Victoria at 6:20 am Wednesday was also listed as canceled.
With files from the Canadian Press
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