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Business in Vancouver

Vancouver airport's passenger numbers soar to all-time high

A record 20.3 million travellers went through the airport in 2015

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 July, 2016, 1:39am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 July, 2016, 10:50am

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) handled a record number of passengers in 2015.

Craig Richmond, president and CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority, said 2015 was a massive year across all sectors resulting in a record year-end high of 20.3 million passengers. 

“Last year was a big one at YVR,” said Richmond. “This is great news as we forecast to surpass 21 million passengers for 2016 and work towards our ambitious goal of 25 million by 2020.”

YVR posted a 3.2 per cent increase in domestic travellers, a 4.3 per cent jump in transborder passengers and a 6.8 per cent increase in international fliers last year. Fliers from Europe were up 6.5 per cent, and there was also a major jump in Asia Pacific passenger traffic (7.4 per cent).

Tourism Vancouver estimates more than 807,000 tourists have visited the city so far in 2016, a 15 per centincrease from last year at this time. The boosted numbers are certainly driven by travellers south of the border, said Ty Speer, president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver

“We are experiencing one of our strongest visitation years ever from the U.S. market,” he said. “Increased air capacity and new direct routes between Vancouver and major U.S. cities have contributed significantly to this increase, complemented by other factors such as sales and marketing initiatives.” 

Air traffic increased across Canada in 2015, bucking a downward trend that started during the economic downturn of 2009.

According to Statistics Canada, passenger rates increased at airports across Canada by 2.7 per cent, to 133.4 million in 2015. The biggest expansion of fliers came in international traffic, up 6.6 per cent. Domestic flights posted an increase of 1.9 per cent.

Provincially, British Columbia recorded one of the largest increases in air travel with boosted numbers across the board: domestic (3.2 per cent), transborder (3.6 per cent) and international (6.7 per cent).

Transborder travel is up over the past seven years (29 per cent) as well as international flights (40 per cent) and domestic travel (22.9 per cent). Canada’s domestic travel sector still remains its largest with 79.5 million passengers taking to the skies last year, compared to transborder (26.5 million) and international (27.4 million) fliers.

One of the airports to see the biggest jump in terms of fliers last year was Gander International Airport in Newfoundland, which saw a 22 per cent rise in domestic travellers and 18.6 per cent climb in international fliers.