Six weeks after Vancouver International Airport (YVR) began to take on the dire economic effects of COVID-19, the not-for-profit organization that operates the airport has announced that it is being forced to perform layoffs to protect its future.
In a prepared statement, Vancouver Airport Authority’s corporate communications manager, Brock Penner, says YVR has begun the process of offering voluntary departure packages to all of its 500 employees, who work in areas such as airport operations, finance, engineering, human resources, and administration.
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This could be followed by forced layoff measures after they have an understanding of how many employees are willing to be voluntary laid off, and how it affects both management and unionized employees.
Further details on the potential number of staff that YVR is looking to reduce was not made available, as the airport authority is currently in the process of notifying employees.
In 2018, YVR had an annual operational budget of $379 million, with $60.5 million going towards salaries, wages, and benefits. During the same fiscal year, it saw revenues totalling $565.1 million, with $48.1 million from airline landing fees, $95.1 million from airline terminal fees, $143.5 million from concessions, $172.1 million from airport improvement fees, $37.9 million from car parking, and $38.7 million from rentals.
But with airlines severely cutting their capacity due to the overnight nosedive in passenger demand and government restrictions, these revenue streams are now nearly non-existent.
Earlier this month, YVR was tracking just 3,000 passengers in a single day, equivalent to 4% of its usual passenger traffic volumes of 78,000 per day. The airport has responded by suspending its construction programs and reducing its operating costs by consolidating airport operations using a smaller footprint of the terminal building.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a dramatic impact on the global aviation industry. At YVR, we now expect to operate as a smaller airport than previously forecasted, serving fewer passengers as we work through a multi-year rebuild,” said Penner.
“We must make some difficult decisions to safeguard the future or our organization, including reducing the Airport Authority’s workforce to align with current and forecasted operational requirements.”
YVR’s operations support 250 airport-supporting businesses on Sea Island, which employ 26,000 people. The airport estimates about half of this workforce will be laid off.