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Vancouver International Airport will see 31 million passengers per year by 2022

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Kenneth Chan Jan 23, 2018 6:21 pm 1,406

North America’s fastest growing airport in terms of passenger numbers is set to grow even quicker than originally forecast based on updated figures released today.

According to the Vancouver Airport Authority, passenger numbers at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) will reach a staggering 31 million passengers by 2022.

This is an updated forecast given that just several years ago, YVR initially projected it would take until 2020 to reach the 25 million mark.

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But YVR is already less than one million passengers away from reaching that target, based on its 2017 passenger figure of over 24 million – an increase of 8.4% over 2016 when the airport saw 22.3 million passengers.

YVR’s updated 2020 target is now 29 million passengers.

And the man leading the charge at YVR is confident with these new targets, which he says are already conservative on the “medium” forecast.

If this forecast is accurate, by 2022 YVR will have the exact same passenger traffic levels as Toronto Pearson International Airport just seven years ago.

During his annual address to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade this afternoon, Vancouver Airport Authority President and CEO Craig Richmond linked the strong, consecutive year-over-year growth to external factors such as the strong local and global economy, the booming travel industry, and an ease in Canadian visa requirements for travellers from Mexico.

For instance, the change in federal policy for travellers from Mexico has increased the number of flights to Mexico City from one to five within just one year of implementation. There are now 1,400 seats per day to the Mexican capital, which is a major hub for flights to South America.

But there are also major internal factors fuelling the growth as well, particularly the Airport Authority’s ConnectYVR program, which lowered airline rates to the lowest in North America.

This program – designed to attract new airlines and encourage existing airlines to increase their frequencies and establish new routes to new destinations – has worked beyond expectations. It has also led to Air Canada’s recent decision to focus much of its expansion on YVR, enforcing Canada’s second biggest and busiest airport as the Trans-Pacific hub of the carrier.

Richmond says airlines are noticing YVR as not only is the airport lowering the costs of airlines for operating from Vancouver, planes are arriving and leaving the airport relatively full.

Loads on flights are standing at 91% full to Europe and 86% full to Latin America. Not too long ago, YVR considered loads of 70 to 75% as great.

YVR now also has 1,500 seats per day on the London route in each direction, with six flights per day running full.

“Looking ahead, we are seeing exciting new destinations and increased frequencies,” said Richmond. “We are here to connect BC proudly to the world and we will continue to generate lift by facilitating the ambitions and endeavours of British Columbians.”

To accommodate the growth, YVR is moving forward with an ambitious $5.7-billion, 20-year airport expansion and improvement project. The first phase of a planned major terminal building expansion begins this year and is set for completion in 2020.

Vancouver International Airport Traffic History

  • 1992
    • Passengers: 9,935,285
    • Cargo (tonnes): 144,404
    • Aircraft Movements: 290,297
  • 1993
    • Passengers: 10,235,015
    • Cargo (tonnes): 151,467
    • Aircraft Movements: 289,371
  • 1994
    • Passengers: 10,830,796
    • Cargo (tonnes): 182,372
    • Aircraft Movements: 301,416
  • 1995
    • Passengers: 12,006,973
    • Cargo (tonnes): 214,472
    • Aircraft Movements: 311,829
  • 1996
    • Passengers: 14,037,174
    • Cargo (tonnes): 249,201
    • Aircraft Movements: 330,364
  • 1997
    • Passengers: 14,818,564
    • Cargo (tonnes): 260,773
    • Aircraft Movements: 343,068
  • 1998
    • Passengers: 15,508,109
    • Cargo (tonnes): 249,297
    • Aircraft Movements: 369,728
  • 1999
    • Passengers: 15,806,499
    • Cargo (tonnes): 269,129
    • Aircraft Movements: 367,249
  • 2000
    • Passengers: 16,032,531
    • Cargo (tonnes): 251,771
    • Aircraft Movements: 337,397
  • 2001
    • Passengers: 15,476,762
    • Cargo (tonnes): 228,694
    • Aircraft Movements: 312,078
  • 2002
    • Passengers: 14,877,536
    • Cargo (tonnes): 235,039
    • Aircraft Movements: 296,626
  • 2003
    • Passengers: 14,321,504
    • Cargo (tonnes): 214,882
    • Aircraft Movements: 290,382
  • 2004
    • Passengers: 15,725,694
    • Cargo (tonnes): 229,913
    • Aircraft Movements: 314,986
  • 2005
    • Passengers: 16,418,993
    • Cargo (tonnes): 223,678
    • Aircraft Movements: 322,949
  • 2006
    • Passengers: 16,922,226
    • Cargo (tonnes): 222,730
    • Aircraft Movements: 322,396
  • 2007
    • Passengers: 17,495,049
    • Cargo (tonnes): 226,233
    • Aircraft Movements: 328,008
  • 2008
    • Passengers: 17,852,459
    • Cargo (tonnes): 211,693
    • Aircraft Movements: 339,022
  • 2009
    • Passengers: 16,179,312
    • Cargo (tonnes): 197,490
    • Aircraft Movements: 314,437
  • 2010
    • Passengers: 16,778,774
    • Cargo (tonnes): 226,840
    • Aircraft Movements: 294,571
  • 2011
    • Passengers: 17,032,780
    • Cargo (tonnes): 223,878
    • Aircraft Movements: 296,942
  • 2012
    • Passengers: 17,596,901
    • Cargo (tonnes): 227,929
    • Aircraft Movements: 296,394
  • 2013
    • Passengers: 17,971,883
    • Cargo (tonnes): 228,263
    • Aircraft Movements: 300,454
  • 2014
    • Passengers: 19,358,203
    • Cargo (tonnes): 256,934
    • Aircraft Movements: 310,139
  • 2015
    • Passengers: 20,315,978
    • Cargo (tonnes): 271, 774
    • Aircraft Movements: 316,182
  • 2016
    • Passengers: 22,284,496
    • Cargo (tonnes): 281,018
    • Aircraft Movements: 281,018
  • 2017
    • Passengers: 24+ million
    • Cargo (tonnes): 313,500
    • Aircraft Movements: n/a

New and improved major YVR routes 2017-18

  • 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, Northern Territories – Air Canada to begin daily non-stop service.
  • December 20, 2017: Orlando International Airport – Air Canada to begin twice weekly non-stop seasonal service.
  • January 1, 2018: Reykjavík, Iceland – Icelandair to upgrade existing seasonal service to three times weekly year-round service.
  • 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 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 into 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.
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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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