Canada’s second busiest and largest airport is poised to experience another consecutive record breaking year for the number of passengers that travel through the airport. Vancouver International Airport (YVR) clocked 10.5 million passengers during the first half of 2016 from January to 2016, representing an 8.5% increase over the same period last year.
This comprises of a 13.7% increase in international traffic, 7.6% increase in domestic traffic, and a 3.8% increase in transborder traffic to and from the United States.
By the end of the year, the airport projects that it will see 21.3 million passengers – one million more passengers than the previous year.
Most of the growth can be attributed to the decision by a number of airlines to introduce new frequent, non-stop services to the airport in 2015 and during the first two quarters of this year. This includes new major WestJet services to London and Hamilton in Ontario and London, UK as well as Air Canada’s new services to Brisbane, Chicago, Dublin, San Diego, and San Jose.
More services are to be added throughout the latter half of the year. Just last week, Xiamen Airlines launched a new three times weekly service to Xiamen, China, and Air Canada plans to start a three times weekly service to Delhi, India beginning on October 20.
Additionally, WestJet plans to boost its existing routes with more frequent flights, adding 47 new weekly flights to the airport beginning in October 2016 on routes to Kelowna, Prince George, Toronto, Honolulu, Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, and Los Angeles. The airline’s direct seasonal service to Montreal will also be extended to the winter months.
“I would like to thank Air Canada, WestJet and our airline partners, who have contributed to a fantastic period of growth for our airport and our region,” said Craig Richmond, President and CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority, in a statement. “Thanks to the ongoing support of our airline partners and the hard work of our team, which includes local tourism bodies, we are achieving our vision—to make YVR a world-class connecting hub.”
Last year, YVR saw a record 20.3 million passengers, representing a 4.9% increase over 2014’s cumulative figure of 19.4 million. The airport has seen record-breaking growth since 2013 when it recorded 17.9 million passengers, and it has a stated goal of reaching 25 million passengers by 2020.
YVR is expected to release an ambitious terminal building expansion plan to accommodate the projected growth next year as the facilities currently have a capacity for 25 million passengers.
A $400 million expansion to add 10 gates to the international terminal and old domestic piers could be completed by the end of the decade if the project is approved this year.
During a Vancouver Board of Trade presentation last year, Vancouver Airport Authority President and CEO Craig Richmond provided a glimpse of the options being considered for the bulk of the expansion work after 2020. It would consist of at least 20 more gates either as a massive new terminal building east of the existing transborder terminal, an extension of the existing piers, or an in-field terminal that is accessible to passengers by tunnel or shuttle.
“The numbers show we are well on the way towards reaching our ambitious goal of 25 million passengers by 2020,” Richmond told Daily Hive today. “As we approach that important milestone we are assessing terminal expansion options and we’ll have more specific information on that in early 2017.”