It will be another consecutive banner year for Canada’s second largest airport as 22 million passengers will have passed through its gates by New Year’s Eve.
While a final count won’t be made available until early next year, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is anticipated to welcome two million more passengers than 2015 when it recorded 20.3 million passengers. It is also currently experiencing a record holiday season, with approximately 70,000 passengers passing through the airport daily during the final two weeks of the month.
The Vancouver Airport Authority says much of its growth this year can be credited to Air Canada’s decision to focus on growing YVR as its transpacific and secondary Canadian hub. Traditionally, the airline’s focus has been on Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), which is its main hub.
Approximately 50% of all passengers at YVR are from routes served by Air Canada, and the airline’s capacity through YVR this year reached a record high with 10.9 million seats during the period from January to October alone. This represents a 12% increase over the same period last year, with much of the growth coming from the airline’s international increase of 22.6%.
“Air Canada has been an incredible partner in increasing our passenger growth by continuously delivering new and exciting destinations for our customers,” said YVR President & CEO Craig Richmond in a statement. “I’d like to thank Air Canada for their commitment to growing their transpacific hub out of YVR and in turn supporting our vision to be a sustainable gateway hub between Asia and the Americas. We couldn’t do this without their support.”
Air Canada recently launched a number of new frequent, major international routes to Osaka, Cancun, San Jose, San Diego,Chicago, Dublin, Brisbane, and New Delhi. For 2017, it already has plans to launch major routes to Taipei, Nagoya, Frankfurt, London Gatwick, and Dallas.
YVR’s second largest contributor to growth in 2016 is WestJet, due to the airline’s new frequent service to London Gatwick and three Canadian cities – London and Hamilton in Ontario and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In contrast, Calgary International Airport (YYC) – Canada’s third busiest airport – is expected to see approximately 15 million passengers this year, although much of Calgary’s passenger numbers are the result of WestJet designating YYC as its main hub.
Meanwhile, Canada’s largest airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, is on track to see 44 million passengers this year. Earlier this month, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority released a report revealing its ambitions to become a global mega airport on the same calibre as Hong Kong, Singapore, and Frankfurt.
YYZ hopes to grow to 80 million passengers by 2035, but as the report notes the airport needs to overcome growing road and rail transport issues and its reputation as one of the most expensive airports for airlines to land a plane.
Seven-figure passenger traffic growth that began at YVR in 2014 is anticipated to continue for the foreseeable future. YVR could see as many as 31 million passengers by 2026 and 39 million passengers by 2037, approximately where YYZ was in 2014.
To accommodate all the expected growth, YVR is planning a major multi-phased terminal expansion, with the first phase potentially commencing construction in 2017 for a completion in 2019. Currently, the terminal facilities have a capacity for 25 million passengers – a target that will likely be reached by 2020 if not earlier.
At the moment, YVR’s growth is fuelled by the strong aviation industry, the strong tourism industry in BC, and its strategy to become a major hub between Asia and the Americas. It has introduced strategic incentives and programs to encourage new and existing airlines and routes to grow their presence at the airport, including ConnectYVR – a five-year program that allows airlines to pay 15% less to land and berth at the gates.
Vancouver International Airport Traffic History
Cargo (tonnes): 144,404
Aircraft Movements: 290,297
Cargo (tonnes): 151,467
Aircraft Movements: 289,371
Cargo (tonnes): 182,372
Aircraft Movements: 301,416
Cargo (tonnes): 214,472
Aircraft Movements: 311,829
Cargo (tonnes): 249,201
Aircraft Movements: 330,364
Cargo (tonnes): 260,773
Aircraft Movements: 343,068
Cargo (tonnes): 249,297
Aircraft Movements: 369,728
Cargo (tonnes): 269,129
Aircraft Movements: 367,249
Cargo (tonnes): 251,771
Aircraft Movements: 337,397
Cargo (tonnes): 228,694
Aircraft Movements: 312,078
Cargo (tonnes): 235,039
Aircraft Movements: 296,626
Cargo (tonnes): 214,882
Aircraft Movements: 290,382
Cargo (tonnes): 229,913
Aircraft Movements: 314,986
Cargo (tonnes): 223,678
Aircraft Movements: 322,949
Cargo (tonnes): 222,730
Aircraft Movements: 322,396
Cargo (tonnes): 226,233
Aircraft Movements: 328,008
Cargo (tonnes): 211,693
Aircraft Movements: 339,022
Cargo (tonnes): 197,490
Aircraft Movements: 314,437
Cargo (tonnes): 226,840
Aircraft Movements: 294,571
Cargo (tonnes): 223,878
Aircraft Movements: 296,942
Cargo (tonnes): 227,929
Aircraft Movements: 296,394
Cargo (tonnes): 228,263
Aircraft Movements: 300,454
Cargo (tonnes): 256,934
Aircraft Movements: 310,139
Passengers: 20.3 million
Cargo (tonnes): n/a
Aircraft Movements: n/a
New and improved major YVR routes 2015/2016/2017
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 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, Chinavia 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.
June 1, 2017: Nagoya, Japan – Air Canada to begin seasonal three times weekly service.
June 8, 2017: Taipei, Taiwan – Air Canada to begin daily service.
June 30, 2017: Hong Kong, China – Hong Kong Airlines to begin daily non-stop flight service.
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