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Victoria airport security finds weapons, tools and even a beer

CATSA spokesperson Mathieu Larocque points to one of the many items security staff at the Victoria International Airport take from passengers in the course of a single week. - Steven Heywood
CATSA spokesperson Mathieu Larocque points to one of the many items security staff at the Victoria International Airport take from passengers in the course of a single week.
— image credit: Steven Heywood

A week’s worth of seized items from airport security screening at the Victoria International Airport includes knives, scissors, power tools, grenades, bullets, a beer and even a garrote.

The items were on display this week just outside the main security checkpoint of the airport terminal.

Mathieu Larocque, a spokesperson with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), says they were displaying the items as a reminder to passengers of what not to bring on their next flight.

“These credit card knives are really popular,” he said, holding one of the items, a credit card-shaped handle with a blade that can be extracted.

Popular they may be, but they and many other knives and tools cannot be brought aboard an aircraft.

Larocque said if security personnel detect the item — either through the X-ray scan or a physical search of the passenger, it will be confiscated.

Items that are confiscated are either kept for disposal later, or if the airport has the capability, Larocque said the item can be checked in and claimed later. Items that are illegal, however, are seized right away and the police are called. He said if police officers are present at an airport, they will speak with individuals about illegal items. If not, police will come later to take the illegal item.

Such illegal items have been found at the Victoria airport, such as a throwing knife. A hand grenade (inactive and empty) was also seized.

Larocque adds people are sometimes still bringing too large quantities of liquid in their carry on baggage. To be allowed on board an aircraft, he said they must be in travel-size containers and held in a clear plastic bag.

When in doubt about bringing items on a trip, people can check with CATSA.gc.ca — or via an App they offer that details what passengers can bring, travel advice, a travel checklist and current security wait times at your chosen airport.

Larocque said between six and seven per cent of passengers in any given day will be carrying prohibited items. Even at small airports, like Victoria, he said that can add up and increase waits through security. The goal of displaying those items now, he continued, was to try and raise awareness and prevent it from happening.

Security delays become more noticeable during airport busy times, said James Bogusz, vice-president of operations and development at the Victoria Airport Authority.

With spring break coming up this month, Bogusz said they are making a few suggestions to make people’s travel experience less stressful:

• Arrive 90 minutes prior to your scheduled departure

• Consider checking in with your airline online before arriving at the airport

• Expect busy parking areas during holidays

To check airport conditions, visit victoriaairport.com.

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