Vancouver International Airport saw a sliver of an increase in passenger traffic in May 2020, compared to the previous month during the low of the pandemic.
Just 85,456 passengers were recorded in May — up from 68,730 passengers in April 2020, and down from 2.185 million passengers in May 2019. Most of the month-to-month gains were from domestic passengers, which increased by about 50%.
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Here is the full breakdown of YVR’s passenger traffic for May 2020:
- 2019: 1,071,267
- 2020: 61,248 (-94.3%)
- US transborder:
- 2019: 507,733
- 2020: 6,176 (-98.8%)
- Asia Pacific:
- 2019: 377,055
- 2020: 14,408 (-96.2%)
- 2019: 173,437
- 2020: 2,250 (-98.7%)
- 2019: 55,362
- 2020: 1,374 (-97.5%)
- Month total for April 2020:
- 2019: 2,184,854
- 2020: 85,456 (-96.1%)
As for aircraft arrivals and departures, there were 6,188 movements throughout the month, up from 5,568 in April 2020 and down from 28,238 in May 2019. Of this figure, 3,020 movements were jet aircraft — an increase from 2,690 in April 2020, but a decrease from 13,923 in May 2019.
Air cargo volumes in May remained constant with the previous month at about half of normal volumes.
Although the first figures for YVR’s summer traffic will not be ready for a few more weeks, there is reason to believe that the passenger growth rate was higher beginning in June, but still considerably below normal. Both Air Canada and West Jet have ramped up their flight services in recent weeks to adjust for the seasonal increase in travel demand, and the improving COVID-19 situation in most domestic and international jurisdictions, which has allowed economies to undergo a limited restart.
But in recent weeks, health authorities have reported a number of flights destined for or originating from YVR with coronavirus cases. A month ago, the airport authority also launched a health safety campaign to help restore traveller confidence.
In May, YVR said it was forecasting between eight and 15 million passengers per year for the next three years, with the low end of this forecast equivalent to YVR’s pre-1992 levels — before the opening of the modern international terminal — and the high end equivalent to 1998’s volumes. In 2019, the airport saw record traffic volumes of 26.4 million passengers.
According to global aviation data firm OAG, approximately 56 million commercial airline seats are available this week — representing an increase of 3.5% week-over-week, and from the pandemic low of 26 million seats. While this week’s airline capacity is 50% of normal, airline load factors under 20% remain quite common.