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Seattle residents being encouraged to fly from Vancouver International Airport for huge deals

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Kenneth Chan Oct 30, 2018 5:19 pm 5,067

For many years, residents north of the border have been hunting for flight deals south of the border at Bellingham Airport and as far as Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).

And now, following Vancouver International Airport’s (YVR) explosive growth over the past six years, the reverse is being encouraged in a recent column in the Seattle Times.

With potential savings of hundreds of dollars, Carol Pucci with the publication says Seattle residents should take advantage of lower international airfares by flying out of Vancouver instead of Seattle.

She goes as far to say that international flights are “often” cheaper in Vancouver compared to the same or similar routes from Seattle. In fact, Pucci says sometimes the savings are worth spending the night in Vancouver to ensure there are no flight-catching mishaps.

She cites her experience in the past of saving about $250 per ticket on a flight to Lima, Peru via Mexico City on Aeromexico’s service from YVR. On another trip to Europe, she saved as much as $600 per ticket by flying with Delta from Vancouver to Rome via Amsterdam, with return from Berlin.

Vancouver International Airport YVR

Vancouver International Airport terminal building. (Shutterstock)

At the end of the day, the difference in pricing has to do with supply and demand and competition.

While SEA served 47 million passengers in 2017, approximately double YVR’s figures, the vast majority of its traffic was domestic – serving destinations within the US.

Just 4.4 million passengers at SEA were on international flights, with the one-hour, direct YVR to SEA route – served by Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, and Delta, United Airlines, and WestJet – being SEA’s busiest international flight. This short cross-border route had 633,000 passengers last year, far higher than Seoul (2nd place) with 424,000 passengers and London (3rd place) with 383,000 passengers.

Comparatively, YVR in the same year had 24.2 million passengers, with 6.43 million international passengers, 5.995 million passengers bound for US destinations, and 11.74 million domestic passengers. YVR’s latest growth trajectory projects total number of passengers will rise to 31 million by 2022 – up from 17.6 million in 2012.

International passenger volumes through YVR have grown by about 50% since 2012 through the mass introduction of new airlines and routes to new international destinations, including Mexico, Europe, Australia, and especially Asia.

In fact, YVR now has the most direct flights between Mainland China and North America, with eight flights serving the route. Hainan Airlines’ new twice-weekly service to Shenzhen and Tianjin, launched this past spring, is the latest addition.

This number to Mainland China does not include the three highly-frequent services by Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, and Hong Kong Airlines that tether Vancouver to Hong Kong.

canadian airports

Vancouver International Airport terminal building. (Warren Fenton / Daily Hive)

Air Canada has also been rolling out its strategy of enforcing YVR as its Trans-Pacific Hub. It recently launched a daily service to Taipei, Taiwan, and frequent services to Osaka and Nagoya in Japan and Delhi in India.

Australia’s three largest cities are also connected to YVR by Air Canada, with the national carrier complementing its Sydney service by recently launching a daily service to Brisbane and a four-times weekly service to Melbourne.

For links between YVR and Mexico City, the route is served 20 times weekly by Aeromexico, four times weekly by Interjet, and daily by WestJet. All of these services by the three airlines are new, and this does not include the new frequent routes serving other Mexican destinations.

Between Icelandair and WOW air, there will soon be 10 weekly flights to Reykjavík, effectively providing new connections to destinations across Europe.

There are also new stronger connections to London Gatwick Airport from WestJet’s new six-times weekly service and Air Canada’s new three-times weekly service.

Elsewhere in Europe, Air Canada has launched new frequent services connecting YVR to Frankfurt, Paris, and Zurich.

Daily Hive has been tracking new and improved flight routes serving YVR since 2015:

New and improved major YVR routes 2015-19

  • March 15, 2015: Manila, Philippines and New York City, USA – Philippine Airlines adds four weekly flights to its route from Manila to NYC, with a stop in Vancouver.
  • March 29, 2015: Paris, France – Air France begins three times weekly non-stop flight service, with five times weekly schedules during the summer months.
  • May 1, 2015: Osaka, Japan – Air Canada Rouge begins five times weekly service to Kansai International Airport.
  • June 26, 2015: Kungming, China – China Eastern Airlines begins three times weekly flight service via Shanghai.
  • December 9, 2015: Mexico City, Mexico – Aeromexico to begin daily non-stop flight service.
  • January 1, 2016: Orlando International Airport – WestJet to begin twice weekly non-stop seasonal flight service.
  • January 20, 2016: Orlando-Sanford International Airport – National Airlines to begin two times weekly seasonal flight service.
  • February 15, 2016: Cancun, Mexico – Air Canada to begin weekly, non-stop seasonal service.
  • May 1, 2016: London Heathrow Airport – British Airways to use an AirBus A380 superjumbo jet for its existing daily non-stop London Heathrow Airport service. The A380 will only be used during the summer months.
  • May 6, 2016: London Gatwick Airport – WestJet to begin six times weekly non-stop flight service.
  • May 9, 2016: Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport – Air Canada to begin twice daily, non-stop service to San Jose.
  • June 1, 2016: Brisbane, Australia – Air Canada to begin daily non-stop flight service.
  • June 2, 2016: San Diego International Airport – Air Canada to begin daily, non-stop seasonal service.
  • June 4, 2016: Chicago O’Hare International Airport – Air Canada to begin daily, non-stop service.
  • June 10, 2016: Dublin Airport – Air Canada to begin seasonal, three times weekly non-stop flight service.
  • June 29, 2016: London, Ontario – WestJet to begin four times weekly non-stop seasonal flight service.
  • June 29, 2016: Halifax, Nova Scotia – WestJet to begin four times weekly non-stop seasonal flight service.
  • June 30, 2016: Hamilton, Ontario – WestJet to begin three times weekly non-stop seasonal flight service.
  • July 25, 2016: Xiamen, China – Xiamen Airlines to begin three times weekly non-stop flight service.
  • October 20, 2016: Delhi, India – Air Canada to begin three times weekly non-stop flight service.
  • December 1, 2016: Mexico City, Mexico – Aeromexico increases weekly flights from 14 to 20.
  • December 20, 2016: Nanjing, China – China Eastern Airlines to begin three times weekly non-stop flight service.
  • December 30, 2016: Hangzhou, China via Qingdao, China – Beijing Capital Airlines to begin three times weekly service.
  • February 5, 2017: Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas – Air Canada to begin daily service
  • March 28, 2017: Hong Kong, China – Cathay Pacific increases weekly flights from 14 to 17
  • May 1, 2017: Phoenix, Arizona – Air Canada to begin daily service
  • May 18, 2017: Denver, Colorado – Air Canada to begin twice-daily service
  • June 1, 2017: Nagoya, Japan – Air Canada to begin seasonal three times weekly service
  • June 1, 2017: Frankfurt, Germany – Air Canada to begin daily service
  • June 8, 2017: Taipei, Taiwan – Air Canada to begin daily service
  • June 8, 2017: London, UK (Gatwick Airport) – Air Canada to begin three times weekly service
  • June 23, 2017: Boston, Massachusetts – Air Canada to begin daily summer seasonal service
  • June 30, 2017: Hong Kong, China – Hong Kong Airlines to begin daily non-stop flight service
  • October 14, 2017: Delhi, India – Air Canada’s service to be upgraded to up to five times weekly
  • October 26, 2017: Cancun, Mexico – Interjet to begin year-round, non-stop flight service running four times weekly
  • October 26, 2017: Mexico City, Mexico – Interjet to begin year-round, non-stop flight service running four times weekly
  • October 29, 2017: Huatulco, Mexico – WestJet to begin weekly non-stop flight service
  • October 29, 2017: Kona and Kauai, Hawaii – WestJet to start seasonal service earlier than usual
  • December 1, 2017: Melbourne, Australia – Air Canada to begin four times weekly non-stop seasonal service
  • December 15, 2017: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories – Air Canada to begin daily non-stop service
  • December 19, 2017: Montego Bay, Jamaica – Sunwing Airlines to begin weekly seasonal service.
  • December 20, 2017: Orlando International Airport – Air Canada to begin twice weekly non-stop seasonal service
  • January 29, 2018: Edmonton, Alberta – WestJet to increase flights from 50 to 59 times weekly
  • January 29, 2018: Calgary, Alberta – WestJet to increase flights from 88 to 112 times weekly
  • January 29, 2018: Kelowna, BC – WestJet to increase flights from 40 to 49 times weekly
  • January 29, 2018: Ottawa, Ontario – WestJet to increase flights from seven to 14 times weekly
  • January 29, 2018: Regina, Saskatchewan – WestJet to increase flights from six to seven times weekly
  • January 29, 2018: Fort St. John, BC – WestJet to increase flights from six to 12 times weekly
  • January 29, 2018: Victoria, BC – WestJet to increase flights from 33 to 35 times weekly
  • January 29, 2018: Cancun, Mexico – WestJet to increase flights from two to three times weekly
  • January 29, 2018: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – WestJet to increase flights from one to two times weekly
  • March 18, 2018: Mexico City, Mexico – WestJet launches three times weekly year-round service
  • April 29, 2018: Mexico City, Mexico – WestJet service to be upgraded into daily year-round service
  • May 2, 2018: Reykjavík, Iceland – Icelandair to upgrade existing year-round service to four times weekly throughout the year.
  • May 4, 2018: Chicago O’Hare International Airport – American Airlines to begin year-round, daily service
  • May 17, 2018: Sacramento International Airport – Air Canada to begin year-round, daily service
  • May 25, 2018: Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport and Tianjin Binhai International Airport – Hainan Airlines to begin year-round, twice-weekly service  to Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport with one stop at Tianjin Binhai International Airport
  • June 1, 2018: Melbourne, Australia – Air Canada service to be upgraded to three times weekly year-round
  • June 7, 2018: Zurich, Switzerland – Air Canada to begin three times weekly seasonal service
  • June 8, 2018: Paris, France – Air Canada to begin four times weekly seasonal service
  • June 8, 2018: Delhi, India – Air Canada upgrades seasonal service to four times weekly year-round
  • October 28, 2018: Honolulu, Hawaii – Air Canada upgrades service to two times daily during winter
  • October 28, 2018: Maui, Hawaii – Air Canada upgrades service to two times daily during winter
  • December 15, 2018: Kauai, Hawaii – Air Canada begins three times weekly seasonal service
  • December 23, 2018: Liberia, Costa Rica – Sunwing Airlines to start weekly seasonal service
  • June 6, 2019: Reykjavík, Iceland – WOW air to start six times weekly service.
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Kenneth Chan
National Features Editor at Daily Hive, the evolution of Vancity Buzz. He covers local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation and infrastructure, and the travel industry. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]dailyhive.com

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