Record 26.4 million passengers at Vancouver International Airport in 2019

Feb 3 2020, 5:41 pm

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) marked yet another record-breaking year for passenger volumes in 2019, but the pace growth was considerably slower than previous years.

Based on new data released by Vancouver Airport Authority on Friday afternoon, YVR saw 26.395 million passengers last year — an increase of about 459,000 passengers from 2018, when the airport saw 25.936 million passengers.

YVR saw year-over-year growth of about two million passengers in 2016, 2017, and 2018. In real numbers, 2019 was the third-slowest year for growth for YVR within the past decade, after the year-over-year growth of 375,000 passengers in 2013 and 254,000 passengers in 2011.

While the pace was slower, 2019’s record was achieved even with increasing global economic uncertainty from the China-US trade war, political tensions, the ongoing Hong Kong political crisis that began in June 2019, and the global grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which has particularly impacted Air Canada and its available seat capacity. There were also far fewer new routes, airlines, and frequency increases in 2019 over previous years.

International passengers overall, including USA Transborder overall, experienced a 1.3% increase — from 6.332 million passengers in 2018 to 6.412 million passengers in 2019. The Asia Pacific subregion grew by 2.7%, with 4.587 million passengers recorded in 2019 compared to 4.465 million in 2018.

European passenger volumes saw a marginal growth of just 0.4% — from 1.755 million in 2018 to 1.761 million in 2019.

Passenger volumes to the USA also increased by 1.7%, with 13.714 million passengers recorded in 2019, representing an increase of about 224,000 over the previous year.

Domestic passenger numbers at YVR saw a growth of 1.9%, rising from 12.446 million in 2018 and 12.681 million in 2019.

As for air cargo, tonnage volumes fell by almost 11% from 338,571 tonnes in 2018 to 302,571 tonnes in 2019.

Total runway aircraft movements saw a decrease of 2.1%, dropping from 295,870 movements in 2018 to 289,533 movements in 2019. Most of the losses came from the smaller aircraft, while a gain of 7.7% was experienced for jet aircraft — an increase from 157,320 jet aircraft movements in 2018 to 169,486 movements in 2019.

For 2020’s passenger volume factors, traffic will inevitably be hurt by the slowing global economy and the unresolved political crisis in Hong Kong, which was a significant contributor in Hong Kong Airlines’ decision to officially cancel its direct route to Vancouver by February 10.

In April, Vancouver will also lose Cathay Pacific’s long-running, fifth-freedom, daily flight between Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) and New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, with a stop at YVR.

As of the end of 2019, there were 30 flights per week between YVR and HKG.

The year also had a turbulent start, with the 2019-nCoV coronavirus carrying the major potential to curb global air travel. A number of countries have already curbed air travel to China as a precaution, although Canada has yet to take this course.

YVR has the most flights to China of any airport in North America, serving about 13 destinations in China including Hong Kong. This includes 13 to 18 flights per week to Beijing, seven to 10 flights per week to Guangzhou, and 18 flights per week to Shanghai.

But this will be a major year for the airport in other ways: YVR has embarked on a 20-year-long, $9.1-billion plan to expand the terminal building and improve the infrastructure that supports airport operations both airside and landside.

The Pier D international terminal expansion, the plan’s first major terminal building improvement project, is scheduled to open in Summer 2020, providing the airport with four additional jet bridge gates and four remote stand operation bus gates, as well as new passenger amenities and dining options.

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: 24,166,122
    • Cargo (tonnes): 312,883
    • Aircraft Movements: 289,371
  • 2018
    • Passengers: 25,936,907
    • Cargo (tonnes): 338,182
    • Aircraft Movements: 295,870
  • 2019
    • Passengers: 26,395,197
    • Cargo (tonnes): 302,571
    • Aircraft Movements: 289,533

New and improved major YVR routes 2017-20

  • 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
  • December 12, 2019: Auckland, New Zealand – Air Canada to start four times weekly seasonal service
  • May 20, 2020: Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota — Sun Country Airlines to start two times weekly seasonal service