Brussels attacks prompt Canadian police to activate multi-agency security response

Canadian air authorities are trying to minimize disruptions to domestic air travel while police services step up security, as Brussels grounded all flights on Tuesday in the wake of devastating bomb blasts that killed more than 30 people.

Canadian police activate ‘multi-agency machine’ to boost security after Brussels attacks

An injured woman leaves the scene at Zaventem Airport near Brussels after explosions rocked the facility. (David Crunelle/Associated Press)

Canadian airlines and airport authorities are trying to minimize disruptions to domestic air travel while police services in this country step up security, in the wake of three deadly bomb blasts in Brussels that killed more than 30 people.   

Two explosions tore through the Zaventem airport departures hall at around 8 a.m. Belgian time. Officials evacuated the airport and grounded all flights. Another blast shook a metro station in the Belgian capital.

Meantime, Toronto police chief Mark Saunders told reporters Tuesday that the attacks triggered a high-level security plan in Canada.

"Whenever there's an issue that happens anywhere in the world that may have an impact on the city of Toronto, we have a machine that we turn on," he said. 

"It's a multi-agency machine. We work with the RCMP, with the OPP. We work with CSIS, we work with the GTA law enforcement agencies and we have a plan in place for that."

"Make no mistake about it: We're very aware and we're looking at whatever trickle effect it may have on the citizens in Toronto," Toronto police chief Mark Saunders told reporters Tuesday. (CBC)
People flying through Toronto's Pearson airport experienced few delays, although authorities cancelled four direct flights to Brussels.

"Normal operations at Toronto Pearson are underway," read a statement on the international airport's website Tuesday morning.

The cancelled flights between Toronto and Brussels included single flights from Etihad Airways and Jet Airways and two flights from Brussels Airlines. 

Air Canada published a short statement on Twitter saying its staff are "deeply saddened" by the attacks.. The airline cancelled its lone direct flight to Brussels out of Montreal on Tuesday, and announced all of Tuesday night's flights to and from Brussels would also be cancelled. Affected travelers will not be charged fees to change flights.

People who booked to fly to Brussels Tuesday must contact their airline directly about changing flights. Belgian authorities also set up a hotline for people who had friends or family at the Brussels airport: (0032) (0) 2/753 73 00.


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