Vancouver International Airport posts strong passenger numbers in early 2023

Mar 30 2023, 9:32 pm

Newly released statistics show Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is continuing to see a very strong recovery in its passenger volumes.

In January 2023, YVR saw a total of 1.794 million passengers — a figure that is comparable to the 2.02 million passengers recorded in the same month in 2020 before the global onset of the pandemic and essentially mirrors the total of 1.791 million in January 2017.

The tally for January 2023 figure includes 876,000 passengers for domestic (94% of 2020) and 918,000 for international (85% of 2020), including 429,000 for US transborder (89% of 2020), 286,000 for Asia Pacific (71% of 2020), 72,000 for Europe (89% of 2020), and 132,000 for other international sub-regions (106% of 2020).

The volumes recorded in the first month of 2023 are more than twice that of the 777,000 passengers that passed through YVR in January 2022.

While final real monthly statistics for February and March 2023 will not be available until later in the spring, YVR states it continues to see strong volumes in the week emerging out of spring break.

For the week between March 27 and April 2, YVR is forecasting an average of about 61,034 passengers per day for a total of 427,240 for the week.

Over 19 million passengers were recorded at YVR throughout 2022, exceeding the previous projection made in October of over 17 million passengers for the year.

It was also forecasted last fall that YVR would see 22 million passengers in 2023, but this figure could prove to be conservative.

After several years of significant year-over-year pre-pandemic growth, YVR hit an all-time record of 26.4 million passengers in 2019.

On Wednesday, Vancouver Airport Authority and Public Service Alliance of Canada jointly announced Local 20221 union members ratified a new four-year collective agreement, effective between January 2023 and December 2026.

The agreement provides frontline employees who worked through the pandemic with more benefits, including increases to extended health benefits, improvements to vacation time, and fair general economic increases that will consider the Consumer Price Index average. YVR also indicates the increases align with the airport’s certification as a Living Wage Employer.

Such an agreement with union members could provide YVR with better certainty and retention over its labour force amidst the worsening labour shortage and, in turn, improve the quality of service and operations, following experiencing major labour challenges in 2021 and 2022, when YVR was unable to quickly ramp up services and operations to meet quickly rebounding passenger volumes.

The agreement likely puts YVR in a better position to adequately accommodate continued passenger recovery.

About 500 members of Local 20221 are directly employed by the airport authority and provide key services such as emergency response, domestic and international arrivals customer care, runaway and baggage conveyor maintenance, airfield and approach lighting, passenger loading operations, and administrative services at the airport.

CATSA security screening operations are the federal government’s responsibility and not the airport authority.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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