Based on global air travel data firm OAG’s 2019 report on the world’s busiest airline routes, the route between Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and Calgary International Airport (YYC) is a standout in North America in terms of the total number of annual flights.
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With 18,694 annual flights across two carriers, the YVR-YYC route is the 10th busiest North American domestic route and the eighth busiest North American short-haul route.
Flights each way between YVR and YYC are approximately one hour and 20 minutes, and they had an average on-time performance of 79.7%, which is relatively high against the network-wide averages for Air Canada and WestJet.
There are roughly two dozen direct flights per day each way between the cities using short-to-medium range aircraft such as the Airbus A319 and Boeing 737.
The high level of flight linkages also indicates the deep economic and tourism connections between Vancouver and Calgary, and the lack of attractive alternatives. YVR is also an important global gateway for Albertans connecting to other flights to reach international destinations.
Under optimal road conditions, driving times through the most direct mountain highway routes between Vancouver and Calgary are over 10 hours each way, while limited coach bus services can take over a day.
According to OAG, the number of flights between YYC and YVR is comparable with other major North American domestic routes, such as San Francisco International Airport to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (19,070 flights), Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport to New York City LaGuardia Airport (19,203 flights), and Los Angeles International Airport to Seattle International Airport (19,778 flights). These routes use similar aircraft as the YVR-YYC route.
OAG defines long-haul flights as over 4,000 km, medium-haul flights as between 1,500 km and 4,000 km, and short-haul flights as 1,500 km and under. For the latest rankings, analysts examined route data between March 2018 and February 2019.