Vancouver International Airport records staggering 17% increase in international passengers in January 2015

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Image: Ben Nelms / Vancouver Airport Authority

There was a staggering 17 per cent increase in international passengers traveling through Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in January 2016, compared to the same period last year.

YVR recorded 432,992 international passengers during the first month of the year, an increase of nearly 63,000 passengers from the January 2015 figure of 370,237 passengers.

Much of the growth is coming from the booming Asia Pacific market, which saw a 19.1 per cent growth rate or a total of 282,764 passengers for the month. Impressive increases were also recorded in the Europe (11%) and “Miscellaneous” (15.3%) sectors.

“The double digit growth rate in Europe is attributed mainly to Air France’s extended winter operations,” Carl Jones, Director of Air Service Development for the Vancouver Airport Authority, told Vancity Buzz. “And in the Asia Pacific sector the growth is linked to airlines using larger aircraft or adding more frequencies.”

“This is the highest year-over-year monthly growth rate for the Asia Pacific sector in five years.”

However, growth in transborder passengers – to and from the United States – flatlined during January with just an increase of 0.1 per cent. But Jones says the transborder growth numbers should bounce back beginning this spring when a number of new frequent direct routes to San Diego, Chicago, and San Jose are introduced by Air Canada.

There was an uptick of five per cent in domestic passengers, and this could increase in the months to come with low airfares and the unfavourably low Canadian dollar turning foreign vacations into Canadian staycations. Later in the year, WesetJet will add new seasonal capacity to YVR with its new frequent, direct routes to Hamilton and London in Ontario.

Overall, the airport’s passenger numbers increased by 6.6 per cent for the month, with a total of 1.625 million passengers – up from 1.525 million during the same period in 2015.

Last year, YVR welcomed a historic record of 20.3 million passengers, marking the first time the airport had over 20 million passengers pass through its gates. Passenger numbers for 2015 increased by nearly one million compared to 2014, and extraordinary growth is expected to continue throughout this year. A number of new frequent, direct flights will be introduced to major destinations such as Brisbane, Chicago, Dublin, and London’s Gatwick Airport.

YVR has previously stated its ambitious goal of reaching 25 million passengers by the end of the decade.

“We are anticipating a strong year ahead with a number of announcements for new airlines and new destinations resulting in more jobs and dollars into the B.C. economy,” continued Jones.

In May, British Airways’ daily, direct Vancouver to London route will switch to using an Airbus A380 superjumbo jet aircraft. This route will become Vancouver’s first and only scheduled A380 service.

New and improved major YVR routes 2015/2016

  • March 15, 2015: Manila, Philippines and New York City, U.S.A. – Philippine Airlines adds four weekly flights to its route from Manila to NYC, with a stop in Vancouver.
  • March 29, 2015: Paris, France – Air France begins three times weekly non-stop flight service, with five times weekly schedules during the summer months.
  • May 1, 2015: Osaka, Japan – Air Canada Rouge begins five times weekly service to Kansai International Airport.
  • June 26, 2015: Kungming, China – China Eastern Airlines begins three times weekly flight service via Shanghai.
  • December 9, 2015: Mexico City, Mexico – Aeromexico to begin daily non-stop flight service.
  • January 1, 2016: Orlando International Airport – WestJet to begin twice weekly non-stop flight service.
  • January 20, 2016: Orlando-Sanford International Airport – National Airlines to begin two times weekly flight service.
  • February 15, 2016: Cancun, Mexico – Air Canada to begin weekly, non-stop seasonal service.
  • May 1, 2016: London Heathrow Airport – British Airways to use an AirBus A380 superjumbo jet for its existing daily non-stop London Heathrow Airport service. The A380 will only be used during the summer months.
  • May 6, 2016: London Gatwick Airport – WestJet to begin six times weekly non-stop flight service.
  • May 9, 2016: Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport – Air Canada to begin twice daily, non-stop service to San Jose.
  • June 4, 2016: Chicago O’Hare International Airport – Air Canada to begin daily, non-stop service.
  • June 6, 2016: San Diego International Airport – Air Canada to begin daily, non-stop service.
  • June 10, 2016: Dublin Airport – Air Canada to begin seasonal non-stop flight service.
  • June 17, 2016: Brisbane, Australia – Air Canada to begin daily non-stop flight service.
  • June 29, 2016: London, Ontario – WestJet to begin four times weekly non-stop seasonal flight service.
  • June 30, 2016: Hamilton, Ontario – WestJet to begin three times weekly non-stop seasonal flight service.
  • July 25, 2016: Xiamen, China – Xiamen Airlines to begin three times weekly non-stop flight service.

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Kenneth Chan Deputy Editor & Social Media Manager at Vancity Buzz. He covers stories pertaining to local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation, infrastructure, and anything else that makes a difference in the lives of Vancouverites. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]vancitybuzz.com
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