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YVR passenger volumes approach pre-pandemic levels

The number of passengers at Vancouver International Airport dropped by about 90 per cent during COVID-19.
Passenger volumes at the airport were 7.1 million in Q3 2023. YVR photo

YVR appeared to be getting close to pre-pandemic passenger levels this summer.

Preliminary numbers show 7.1 million travellers moved through Vancouver International Airport between July and September.

YVR said summer travel in 2023 was “on par” with the summer of 2019 before the pandemic hit, when 7.2 million passengers were recorded in preliminary numbers.

After airlines, however, compiled their data, this number rose to 7.6 million in Q3 2019, according to YVR's official statistics.

The airport authority, for consistency, uses preliminary data when comparing numbers in its reports to the public "for timely operational decisions to optimize the passenger experience, and as the basis for our organizational key performance indicators," a spokesperson explained.

August was YVR’s busiest month this summer, with the B.C. Day weekend seeing the most passengers — 328,422 passengers from Friday to Monday, Aug. 4-7.

In its third quarter, there were almost 60,000 arriving and departing flights by 110 airlines.

In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, passenger volumes dropped by about 90 per cent.

Only about seven million passengers travelled through YVR in both 2020 and 2021.

In 2022, this number jumped to 19 million. (In 2019, there were well over 26 million passengers.)

The increase in passenger volumes this year is fuelled by expanded airline services, according to YVR, including continued growth from Air Canada, which added key U.S. destinations such as Miami and Washington Dulles.

“We are in a time of growth at YVR and as an industry. I am proud of our team and the entire YVR community for delivering on our commitment to helping travellers navigate the airport more easily and elevating their experience, while never wavering from our values of safety, innovation, teamwork and accountability,” said Tamara Vrooman, Vancouver Airport Authority’s president and CEO.

In July, YVR raised and donated $50,000 for wildfire relief efforts in British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.

YVR also facilitated medical and evacuation flights from B.C. and Northwest Territories.