Vancouver smashes through 26 million passenger mark in 2019

A busy tarmac at Vancouver International Airport in July as the airport set a new passenger record in 2019 (photo: Brett Ballah).

Propelled by an unexpectedly strong December, Vancouver International Airport set a passenger record in 2019, welcoming more than 26 million passengers for the first time.

In all, 26,395,197 people flew through the airport last year, up 1.8% over 2018; an impressive figure, given challenges facing Canadian aviation, including the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max and trade troubles with China.

More than half of all passengers at YVR were travelling on international flights. The Asian market saw almost 4.6 million passengers in 2019, up 2.7% on the year. Europe saw more than 1.6 million, largely flat on the year, while flights to the United States were up 1.3%, to more than 6.4 million people.

Some 12.6 million people flew on domestic flights, up almost two per cent on the year.

The number of passengers on regional aircraft saw the largest gain of all sectors, surpassing more than 5 million passengers for the first time, thanks in part to the redeployment of larger Dash 8-400 aircraft by Air Canada for the summer. In addition, 336,608 people travelled through the smaller South Terminal, which serves local routes within British Columbia.

Vancouver joins Calgary, Abbotsford, Charlottetown, Fredericton, London, and Kamloops in setting new passenger records on the year.

This year could prove more difficult in Vancouver, with coronavirus fears forcing Air Canada to drop China flights for the month of February, hurting not only passenger numbers, but also lucrative duty free sales.

Airport2018 passengers2019 passengers
Abbotsford, B.C.842,212*1,008,176*
Charlottetown, P.E.I.370,730*383,183*
Fredericton, N.B.423,234*427,085*
Kamloops, B.C.351,631361,586*
Kelowna, B.C.2,080,372*2,032,144
Moncton, N.B.681,473*674,406
Nanaimo, B.C.435,394
Prince George, B.C.506,486
Quebec City1,774,841*
Saskatoon1,518,980*1,490,000 (est.)
Thunder Bay869,404*
Winnipeg4,500,000* (estimate)4,500,000 (est.)
* – record (sources: airport reports)

While passenger numbers were up, trade tensions could be seen in Vancouver’s cargo data. Shipments through the airport were down more than 10% on the year, to less than 303-thousand tonnes.

Categories: Vancouver

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