Vancouver International Airport has some of North America's busiest airline routes

Aug 12 2019, 12:11 pm

Despite being only a mid-sized airport in terms of annual passenger numbers, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) punches well above its weight when it comes to not only its international routes but also the strength of those routes.

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Based on the global air travel data firm OAG’s 2019 report on the world’s busiest routes, YVR had a number of standouts ranking among the busiest in North America in terms of the total number of annual flights.

The YVR to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) route is the seventh busiest international route in North America, with 6,955 annual flights served by three carriers (code shares accounted for) and averaging an on-time performance (OTP) of 72.1%.

As well, coming at 10th place in the North American busiest international route ranking is the YVR to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) route. It has 6,191 annual flights across three carriers, and an OTP of 64%.

The strength of YVR’s direct routes to both LAX and SFO are indicators of the strong economic and tourism linkages between Vancouver and the West Coast cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. The route to LAX has a travel time of about three hours, while the route to SFO is just over two hours.

Additionally, the YVR route to Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) is the fourth busiest domestic route on the continent. YVR-YYZ sees 15,251 annual flights across three carriers, and has a travel time of four to five hours and an OTP of 66.9%.

OAG also previously ranked Air Canada’s YVR-YYZ route as the world’s ninth most profitable airline route, with an estimated revenue of USD $552 million annually between April 2017 and March 2018. Air Canada operated 17 flights per direction per day on this route over this period, totalling 48,253 hours of scheduled flight time and generating USD $11,445 in revenue per hour.

According to OAG, Air Canada is the largest carrier of capacity on six of the top 10 international routes on the continent.

One other domestic route standout for YVR is the route to Calgary International Airport (YYC).

With 18,694 annual flights across two carriers, the YVR-YYC route is the 10th busiest North American domestic route and the eighth busiest North American short-haul route. The one-hour, 20-minute flight has a higher OTP of 79.7%.

OAG defines long-haul flights as over 4,000 km, medium-haul flights as between 1,500 km and 4,000 km, and short-haul flights as 1,500 km and under. For the latest rankings, analysts examined route data between March 2018 and February 2019.

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