Nearly 70,000 daily passengers expected this week at Vancouver International Airport

Jul 25 2022, 10:45 pm

This week’s daily passenger volumes at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) will be the busiest since the pandemic began, closing in on normal volumes.

In a bulletin today advising travellers to arrive early as a precaution, YVR says it will see an average of about 67,000 passengers per day between July 25 and August 31 for a total of 467,500 passengers this week alone.

There were 69,560 passengers yesterday (Sunday), and the forecast calls for 66,198 passengers today (Monday), 65,860 passengers tomorrow (Tuesday), 66,162 passengers Wednesday, 67,544 passengers Thursday, 66,586 passengers Friday, and 65,590 passengers Saturday.

For arrivals this week, the volumes entail 121,711 domestic passengers, about 61,434 US transborder passengers, and 51,858 international passengers. For departures, there will be 124,465 domestic passengers, 59,518 US transborder passengers, and 49,512 international passengers.

For context, YVR saw just 69,000 passengers for the entire month of April 2020, upon the sudden shock of the pandemic. It saw an average of 25,000 passengers per day in July 2021, and 81,000 in pre-pandemic 2019.

This week’s average volumes are up from the average of over 50,000 daily passengers in May and early June 2021.

For the entire month of May 2022, YVR recorded 1.611 million passengers — equivalent to 73% of the pre-pandemic volumes of May 2019, when 2.185 million passengers were recorded. The full passenger volume statistics for June 2022 have yet to be released, but they are most likely higher than May.

If YVR is able to repeat at least May 2022’s volume of 1.611 million passengers for each of the remaining seven months of this year, it would end 2022 with a relatively impressive total of about 17.1 million passengers — equivalent to 2011’s total, but well behind the historic record of 26.4 million in 2019.

The exceptionally strong and quick recovery in passenger volumes this year to date — the result of pent-up travel demand, improved consumer confidence, high vaccination rates, and the lifting of health and travel restrictions — poses a significant challenge for airport operators, airport-supporting businesses, airlines, CATSA security screening workers, and border control staff.

A labour shortage at YVR and other airports around the world has resulted in delays, and a deterioration in the travel experience, with staffing levels not keeping up with rapidly growing demand.

There is a range of other factors for this week’s high passenger traffic, including peak season tourism, major destination-sized events in the region (Honda Celebration of Light and the Vancouver Pride Parade), and returning international students ahead of the start of the new school year.

Until further notice, YVR is advising travellers to arrive two hours early for domestic flights, and three hours early for US transborder and international flights.

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