Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is more than just Vancouver’s travel hub. The airport is run by a community-based, not-for-profit organization with no shareholders, which is a structure that allows it to reinvest all profits back into the airport and the local region. The organization has a public interest mandate to deliver social and economic benefits to its communities, which has resulted in B.C.-led innovation that benefits passengers and the industry, not just locally but around the world.
International Terminal Expansion
Construction is currently underway on YVR’s new international terminal expansion — Pier D. This is the largest terminal extension since the overhaul and modernization of the airport in 1996 and will add increased capacity and a range of new amenities to improve the passenger experience.
It will include eight additional widebody gates, a quiet terminal, First Nations and other regional art, and plenty of seating at the gates. To further enhance the passenger experience, the expansion will also feature an “island forest,” complete with three live western hemlock trees contained within a glass-enclosed atrium that is open to the outdoors. (Impressive, right?)
This expansion reflects YVR’s commitment to providing an outstanding passenger experience. The investment in infrastructure development helps to attract more passengers to the airport, which in turn brings more flights. With more flights come more jobs, more revenue to reinvest into the airport and the region, and greater economic health for the Vancouver and B.C. communities, all tying back to its public interest mandate as a community-based, not-for-profit.
Automated Border Kiosks
YVR has also been a driving force of several innovative travel solutions such as the BORDERXPRESS kiosks that have not only helped make the airport more efficient but have also now been sold to other airports around the world. This system automates part of the customs and border inspection process with a digital declarations system for international travellers arriving at the airport. BORDERXPRESS kiosks are capable of processing four times more travellers versus a single border officer, making the process up to 89% faster to streamline service, reduce wait times, and create a more secure border.
Innovations like BORDERXPRESS enable YVR to continually enhance the customer experience, attracting more passengers and leading to additional economic growth and prosperity for the airport and the surrounding region.
But these new technologies don’t just benefit passengers locally. YVR’s innovations have also extended to the global community, including the installation of BORDERXPRESS kiosks at Pafos International Airport and Larnaka International Airport in Cyprus. This was a major milestone for the industry, marking the first implementation of permanent kiosks for Entry and Exit border control in all of Europe.
More than 1,600 of these kiosks are now in 44 airports, seaports, and onboard sites around the world, and have processed more than 250 million passengers and counting. By commercializing its technologies to generate more revenue, YVR can lower landing and terminal fees for airlines, leading to an increase in flights and resulting in more jobs and more revenue to reinvest into the airport and community.
Self-Serve Bag Drops
As a community-based, not-for-profit organization, YVR is committed to making the airport experience as seamless as possible for its passengers. Its self-serve baggage drop system — CHECKITXPRESS — has significantly improved the ease and speed of checking luggage for passengers.
This YVR-designed system is accessible, efficient, intuitive, and nearly four times faster than the previous system, with an average processing time of under 10 seconds. Increasing the efficiency of the airport helps YVR to provide outstanding customer service, attracting more passengers, more revenue, and more growth.
Community is at the heart of all YVR initiatives. That’s why the airport has committed to becoming a world leader in providing accessible airport features and an inclusive experience for people of all backgrounds and abilities. From universal service counters and accessible washrooms to high-contrast signage, YVR’s accessibility initiatives have set an industry standard and provided social benefits to all passengers who pass through the hub.
Recent accessibility programs at YVR include an Accessible Travel Guide and travel video series for travellers with spinal cord injuries in partnership with Spinal Cord Injury BC.
YVR also partnered with the Canucks Autism Network to develop the I Can Fly initiative, a resource kit and video series to assist individuals and families living with autism, and the Canadian Mental Health Association on Fly Calm — travel resources for reducing stress, anxiety, and uncertainty when navigating air travel.
YVR’s mandate to provide economic and social benefits to the community drives every decision the organization makes. Keeping the interests of its community top-of-mind, YVR’s unique position as a community-based, not-for-profit airport allows it to invest in the region, as well as in innovation and improvements to the airport and the customer experience.
Its investment in innovation has also led to global recognition, as YVR has been named Best Airport in North America for a record 10-years in a row. By investing in the airport and the local community, YVR is investing in the future of our amazing city and province.