YVR Airport now averaging 30,000 passengers daily with travel restrictions relaxed

From Daily Hive – link to source story

Kenneth Chan | Sep 8 2021

YVR Airport now averaging 30,000 passengers daily with travel restrictions relaxedVancouver International Airport, June 2021. (Vancouver Airport Authority)

In recent days, passenger volumes at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) rebounded to about 50% of normal levels, marking the highest level of traffic recorded since the pandemic began.ADVERTISEMENT

Airport officials told Daily Hive Urbanized they are now averaging at about 30,0000 passengers per day, and this is holding steady even as the border opens to international leisure travellers.

During a normal day in 2019, the airport regularly saw about 60,000 passengers daily.

YVR experienced traffic growth all summer long, with the first major milestone being the reopening of the US-Canada border on August 8 to fully-vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents currently in the US for leisure travel. In early August, YVR was projecting an average of about 23,000 passengers per day.

This was followed up by the wider opening of the border this past Monday to fully-vaccinated leisure international travellers beyond the US.

Travellers are advised to arrive early at the airport to go through both health screening and security protocols, and ensure they meet the travel requirements for their destination.

“This is another positive step in the government’s risk-based and measured approach to reopening travel and tourism for Canada. At YVR, we are ready to welcome back passengers and are working with our many partners to not only implement these measures but also to keep our community informed about what the journey will look like when everyone can get back to travel,” reads a statement from the Vancouver Airport Authority to Daily Hive Urbanized.

“With these travel measures easing, we are expecting longer wait times as a result of increased passenger volumes. We are committed to keeping passengers informed should there be changes to the travel experience.”

YVR has rehired frontline staff and reopened more areas, services, and amenities in the terminal building to accommodate the surge in passengers

Flair Airlines Extends Schedule Through Summer 2022

Canada’s favorite ULCC is confident in travel demand growth over the coming year and expands schedule in core Canadian and US markets

Edmonton, Alberta, September 9, 2021 – Flair Airlines, Canada’s only true ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), continues its surge to bring low fares to Canadians and has extended its flight schedule through Summer 2022 in core Canadian and US markets.

“As we grow our fleet and expand our service, we see the demand for Flair’s low fare travel continuing to explode across Canada. We are absolutely focused on rescuing Canadians from the bloated prices they have long suffered in flying,” says Stephen Jones, President and CEO, Flair Airlines. “Flair is committed to helping reunite families and make travel accessible for everyone, and our schedule extension will help passengers prepare for 2022 by knowing they can explore and connect without breaking the bank.”

The schedule expansion extends the booking period into Summer 2022. Many year-round and seasonal routes will see an increase in service including flights departing from Edmonton (YEG), Kelowna (YLW), Halifax (YHZ), Kitchener (YKF), Abbotsford (YXX), Winnipeg (YWG), Toronto (YYZ), Saint John (YSJ), Vancouver (YVR), Calgary (YYC), Victoria (YYJ), Charlottetown (YYG), Thunder Bay (YQT), and Montreal (YUL).

Flair’s confidence in Canadian travel continuing to grow in 2022 is reflected in the ultra-low fares where cost efficiency and demand allow for pricing to start at just $29 CAD one-way on some routes. All routes and schedule details can be viewed at https://www.flyflair.com. More low fares and exciting summer route announcements will be coming soon! Be among the first to know by signing up for Flair’s newsletter https://www.flyflair.com/newsletter.

Flair is rapidly growing to serve Canadians with low fare flights, the extended schedule allows for more efficient planning for customers and airline partners. Deliveries of new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft throughout 2021 and 2022 continue to grow the fleet as Flair achieves its goal of 50 aircraft in five years. Flair continues to bring more jobs to the market and is hiring more staff and flight crew as it meets the growth demands of the airline.

About Flair Airlines

Flair Airlines is Canada’s only independent Ultra Low-Cost Carrier (ULCC) and is on a mission to liberate the lives of Canadians by providing affordable air travel that connects them to the people and experiences they love. With an expanding fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, Flair is growing to serve 26 cities across Canada and North America. For more information, please visit http://www.flyflair.com

WestJet flights between Dawson Creek and Calgary take off

Air service returns to Dawson Creek as WestJet Link connects city to WestJet’s global hub

CALGARY, AB, Sept. 8, 2021 /CNW/ – Today, WestJet launched its newest route with the departure of WestJet Link flight 3027 connecting Calgary and Dawson Creek, B.C. The inaugural marks a new link for the regions’ business, travel and tourism markets as WestJet becomes the only carrier to provide nonstop service between the Peace River Region and its largest hub in Calgary, where the airline is the largest carrier, offering the most seats and flights.

“Our guests in both Calgary and the Peace River Region have been patiently awaiting this important milestone and we are thrilled to bring air service to the community,” said John Weatherill, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “As we continue to build back our network, Dawson Creek will benefit from lower fares and connectivity across our network as we strive to reconnect Canadians for business and leisure.”

Upon flight 3027’s arrival in Dawson Creek, the inaugural service was celebrated by Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead alongside Chris Hedlin, WestJet’s Vice-President of Network Planning and key regional business leaders.

“The City of Dawson Creek is so pleased to welcome WestJet into our city and the entire South Peace region of Northeast BC. This new direct service to Calgary is so important to the economic development of our city,” said Dale Bumstead, Mayor, Dawson Creek. “The Energy, Forestry and Mining sectors are all very important to our region and this new service will be a welcome addition for industry while also providing our residents with nonstop air service to WestJet’s global hub in Calgary for their leisure and business travel.”

The new service and new route for WestJet operates four times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.  WestJet Link flights are operated through a capacity purchase agreement with Pacific Coastal Airlines using its fleet of WestJet-branded 34-seat Saab 340 aircraft.

With the addition of Calgary-Dawson Creek service, WestJet Link now operates five routes between Calgary and Cranbrook, Lethbridge, Lloydminster and Medicine Hat and three between Vancouver and Cranbrook, Nanaimo and Comox.

Details of WestJet’s service between Calgary and Dawson Creek:

RouteFrequencyStart DateDepartureArrival
Calgary – Dawson Creek4x weeklySeptember 8, 20213:30 p.m4:37 p.m
Dawson Creek – Calgary4x weeklySeptember 8, 20215:15 p.m8:13 p.m

Additional quotes

“With many development projects happening across western Canada, the addition of WestJet’s Calgary to Dawson Creek, B.C. route is an important connection that supports economic development, benefiting both provinces,” said Chris Miles, Vice President, Operations & Infrastructure for The Calgary Airport Authority. “This route also provides guests in Northern B.C. direct access to Alberta and destinations across the country with YYC’s extensive connecting flight network.”

“We are very excited to be a part of the new air service to Dawson Creek,” says Pacific Coastal Airlines President, Quentin Smith. “We are pleased to see WestJet Link grow and look forward to our continued partnership and linking communities to the WestJet network.”

About WestJet 
In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All promise. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com

Why Air Canada Is Confident About Cargo In Its Candian Hubs

From Simple Flying – link to source story

by Chris Loh | August 21, 2021

The global health crisis turned aviation upside down and significantly disrupted key transportation links. Restoring these connections, airlines have had to adapt, replacing passenger services with dedicated cargo flights. While this has become less frequent with industry recovery, Air Canada is optimistic about its cargo division and its position as a freight mover.

Air Canada 787
Monday, July 5th, saw Air Canada operate its 10,000th cargo-only service. This was flight AC7251 from Toronto (YYZ) to Buenos Aires (EZE). The on-demand flight is operated by a Boeing 789. Photo: Air Canada

Air Canada’s cargo optimism

Air Canada’s cargo division has become a significant part of the airline’s revenue stream. The airline tells Reuters that in the second quarter of 2021, cargo accounted for 43% of revenue.

“[Cargo was] a single-digit piece of the business before COVID. We hope to be a bigger part of that in the future,” – Jason Berry, VP of Cargo, Air Canada via Reuters

All of this optimism comes at a time when regular passenger flights are making a comeback. This recovery of passenger flights equates to increased cargo capacity, as a significant portion of freight travels in the belly hold of passenger aircraft.

Air Canada 787
Air Canada hopes to operate more cargo-only flights in the future, already establishing a robust cargo-only flight schedule. Photo: Air Canada

While this consideration should be a concern for Canada’s largest carrier, its cargo ambitions have been bolstered by the continued rise of e-commerce and online shopping. Additionally, travel restrictions have eased more slowly than in other parts of the world. While the country has opened up to US travelers as of early August, it only intends to open up to fully vaccinated international arrivals on September 7th.

Capitalizing on American bottlenecks

Another big reason for Air Canada’s optimism is the fact that the US has ramped up operations so quickly that it’s experiencing bottlenecks due to staff and space shortages.

Jason Berry noted that US airports have been facing “operational challenges” in their post-pandemic ramp-ups. “We’re seeing congestion, massive lines, and wait times to recover product at major gateways,” the airline executive notes.

Indeed, this congestion is the result of staffing shortages and space constraints, which are being seen at large hubs and ports, such as Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

Brandon Fried, executive director of the Airforwarders Association, tells Reuters that Air Canada’s method of sending cargo from Toronto to Chicago and New York by truck could be appealing to freight forwarders, who otherwise seek out alternatives like secondary US airports in order to circumvent the bottlenecks.

Air Canada has its own facility in Chicago, along with its own employees, Berry reports.

“With our own facilities, we can control our own destiny and effectively bypass much of the disruption. We believe we have a strategic advantage in our Toronto hub, actually all of our hubs: Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.”

Air Canada 787
With passenger flights recovering, Air Canada will eventually lose the capacity it had by operating cargo-only flights with its passenger jets. Photo: Air Canada

Dedicated freighters coming to Air Canada

A rise in passenger services will equate to a drawdown in cargo-only services using passenger aircraft. However, a rise in passenger flights will at least allow cargo to be transported in the belly hold of these aircraft, perhaps with even greater frequency.

In addition to this, however, the airline will soon have its own dedicated, permanent freighter aircraft in the form of converted Boeing 767-300ERs. These are set to enter service later this year and already have their own schedules.

“When the first converted 767 freighters enter service in October, they will fly primarily out of Toronto Pearson International Airport, and will operate on routes linking Toronto to Miami, Quito, Lima, Mexico City and Guadalajara.” -Air Canada

Rouge B767
Air Canada’s freighters come from previous AC Rouge jets. Photo: Air Canada

The airline adds that more destinations will be served in early 2022 as more freighters arrive. Destinations include Halifax, St. John’s, Madrid and Frankfurt.

Air Canada sees ‘strategic advantage’ for Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver as cargo hubs

From The Globe and Mail – link to source story

ALLISON LAMPERT AND SANJANA SHIVDAS, REUTERS | AUGUST 20, 2021

An Air Canada plane at a hangar at Toronto Pearson International Airport, on Feb. 9, 2017.MARK BLINCH/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Air Canada sees a “strategic advantage” for its cargo business in Canadian hubs like Toronto as shippers seek to bypass logjams at some U.S. gateways.

Lifted by e-commerce demand, cargo-only flights emerged as a lifeline for carriers during the pandemic when commercial traffic slumped. Half of air cargo normally travels in the belly of passenger jets.

While North American airlines are reducing all-cargo flights as passenger traffic rebounds, that shift is more gradual in Canada due to a slower easing of travel restrictions.

Cargo remains important for Canada’s largest carrier, accounting for 43 per cent of second-quarter revenue, even as it restores passenger flights, a company executive told Reuters.

“We [cargo] were a single-digit piece of the business before COVID. We hope to be a bigger part of that in the future,” Jason Berry, Air Canada’s vice-president for cargo, said in an interview, without providing a target.

Air Canada’s ambition comes as international air cargo volume hit its strongest first-half growth since 2017, airline trade group IATA said. But staffing shortages and space constraints have exacerbated congestion at hubs like Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and at some U.S. ports.

U.S. railroad operator Union Pacific Corp. recently warned that bottlenecks at West Coast ports have spread East, impacting some inland terminals, including Chicago.

Air Canada, which trucks cargo arriving at Toronto Pearson International Airport to its facilities in Chicago and New York, could appeal to freight forwarders seeking alternatives like secondary U.S. airports to bypass the congestion, said Brandon Fried, executive director of the Airforwarders Association.

“Many of the airports in the U.S. in particular have ramped up quickly, and with that rapid growth there has been operational challenges. We’re seeing congestion, massive lines and wait times to recover product at major gateways,” Air Canada’s Mr. Berry said.

“We have our own facility in Chicago with our own employees, while a lot of our competitors are suffering because the U.S. has seen such a quick rebound that there is a lot of struggle for manpower down there,” he said.

“With our own facilities we can control our own destiny and effectively bypass much of the disruption. We believe we have a strategic advantage in our Toronto hub, actually all of our hubs: Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.”

Keeping employees to handle cargo, as opposed to contracting out such tasks, helps airlines have more control over service and work force when there is a labour shortage, said Stan Wraight, president of Montreal-based Strategic Aviation Solutions International (SASI).

Air Canada’s services could be competitive on time against carriers that fly indirectly to O’Hare, said Mr. Wraight, of SASI, which advises airlines, airports and financial organizations on air cargo logistics.

However, the Canadian carrier would lose advantages in efficiency against airlines that offer non-stop direct service to Chicago, he said.

“Competitors of Air Canada with direct flights are on the ground and unloading cargo a day earlier,” said Mr. Wraight, whose company has previously done work for the carrier.

Shawn Richard, vice-president for global air freight at SEKO Logistics, said the company has increased its volumes with Air Canada, which he said can save two to three days’ time.

SEKO, a U.S.-based global logistics and freight forwarding specialist that also uses certain U.S. carriers, would increase business with Air Canada if the “situation deteriorates,” Mr. Richard said.

O’Hare has processed nearly 1.3 million metric tonnes of cargo through the first half of 2021, a near-50-per-cent surge from a year ago, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA).

Soaring shipments “challenge O’Hare’s cargo ramps, both airside and landside,” but the CDA is taking steps to alleviate congestion and expand cargo facilities, a spokeswoman said by e-mail.

Mr. Berry said Air Canada’s introduction of new converted Boeing 767 freighters this year will help its business even as it draws down cargo-only flights on wide-body passenger jets from roughly 285 a week during the second quarter to around 125 flights a week later this year.

Freighters, equipped with pallets and a main deck cargo door, are easier to unload than “loose-loaded” passenger planes that moved cargo onto the main deck during the pandemic, Mr. Wraight said.

Mr. Berry said the return of fully vaccinated American travellers to Canada this month will also help cargo.

“We know that means more airplanes flying into the U.S. and that opens trade lanes for the globe to feed into and out of the U.S. on our network.”

‘We thought we were going down’: Passenger recalls terror of flight through thick wildfire smoke

From CBC News – link to source story and the video

Pilots are trained to handle turbulence and reduced visibility of wildfire conditions, aviation experts say

Rhianna Schmunk · CBC News · August 19, 2021

Airplane passenger shows ‘terrifying’ wildfire conditions above Kelowna, B.C.

Michelle Gregoire shot video of blood-red skies from wildfires, as her flight unsuccessfully tried to land in Kelowna Sunday afternoon. They eventually flew back to Vancouver. 

Michelle Gregoire saw it begin from her window seat behind the plane’s right wing.

She was nearing the end of her flight to Kelowna, B.C., on her way home from Vancouver on Sunday when she noticed the clear, mid-afternoon sky had darkened, turning to a burnt yellow. As the sky grew darker and darker, the cabin filled with the bitter smell of smoke.

“All of a sudden, it just starts to go from red to black and the turbulence started,” Gregoire recalled in an interview. “People were starting to scream. There was a lady in front of me that just reached her hand out across the aisle to a young girl that was travelling by herself.”

Gregoire’s flight jolted into the Okanagan around 4:30 p.m. PT on what would become one of the more intense nights of this year’s wildfire season, with wind sending blazes stampeding through the region and forcing hundreds to evacuate their homes in a matter of hours.

Pilots trained for wildfire conditions

In the sky, towering clouds of black smoke reached airliner altitude and blotted out the sun.

Former pilots and aviation safety experts agree an experience like Gregoire’s would be harrowing but said commercial pilots who find themselves caught over wildfires are trained to handle extreme turbulence and low visibility.

Gregoire estimated the pilots fought for five agonizing minutes before abandoning the landing attempt and returning to Vancouver. She posted a brief video from the flight on Facebook.

“I actually had a woman reach out to me that saw the video … she said, ‘You know, we thought, in our row, that this is it. We thought we were going down,’ ” Gregoire said.

“It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life, absolutely.”

Thick smoke fills the air and nearly blocks out the sun just before 3 p.m. PT as a motorist on Highway 97 travels past an area burned by the White Rock Lake wildfire in Monte Lake, east of Kamloops, B.C., on Sunday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Airborne hazards 

Under general Transport Canada restrictions, pilots cannot fly within roughly nine kilometres of a forest fire unless they are 3,000 feet above ground level. Airlines are known to delay or cancel flights during fire season if weather and visibility are poor.

Still, pilots can get caught mid-air if fires suddenly shift. They’ll face two immediate hazards: turbulence and reduced visibility. 

Fires can generate enough extreme heat to create their own weather, which can lead to violently bumpy flights like Gregoire’s. While that kind of turbulence is scary and unpleasant, aviation experts agree large commercial jetliners and their pilots are equipped to handle it. 

“It can handle, if necessary, the turbulence inside a thunderstorm,” said Edward McKeogh, who flew military jets and commercial aircraft for more than 40 years before joining Canadian Aviation Safety Consultants. 

A helicopter carrying a water bucket flies past a pyrocumulus cloud, also known as a fire cloud, produced by the Lytton Creek wildfire burning in the mountains above Lytton, B.C., on Sunday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

The greater hazard, experts said, would be poor visibility when it comes time to land.

“As in the video that you saw, visibility can rapidly change from six miles plus, down to almost zero visibility in smoke,” said Barry Wiszniowski, a career pilot and president of Aviation Safety Management Experts.

It is possible for pilots to land with next to zero visibility if the plane is equipped with advanced instruments and the arrival airport has state-of-the-art navigational systems designed to communicate with the inbound flight.

Major airports like Vancouver International Airport have systems in place to guide those arrivals, but that’s not always possible at smaller B.C. airports.

Protocols for smoke and fog

If pilots can’t land due to smoke, they follow the same protocols as they would in the fog: they would execute what’s called a “missed approach” for landing and head for their alternative airport.

Wiszniowski called this “the right decision and the most conservative decision and the safest decision.”

“The crew, they know what they’re doing and if they take care of themselves, they’re taking care of their passengers.”

Most pilots would try to stay clear of smoke and fires as a general rule.

“The wise choice would be to avoid areas where the smoke is most dense,” said McKeogh, the veteran former pilot. 

As an aside, Wiszniowski said he believes the most dangerous threat during fire season doesn’t have anything to do with the weather. 

“[It’s] drone pilots that are getting in the way,” he said.

Drones have been known to slow down helicopters and water bombers trying to fight fires in B.C. Flying a drone anywhere near a fire can lead to a fine of up to $25,000 or up to 18 months in jail.

After spending an extra night in Vancouver, Gregoire flew back to Kelowna on Monday. She made it home safely to Vernon, B.C., a city just to the north, and hugged her two teenaged children.

“It was very nerve-wracking,” she said, regarding her second flight. “There were some eyes closed and armrest clenching, for sure.”

Air Canada to Add Orange County (Santa Ana), California to Network Beginning October 2

Air Canada rebuilding U.S. network following relaxed travel restrictions

MONTREAL, Aug. 11, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada today announced it will begin non-stop service between Vancouver and Santa Ana in Orange County, California starting Oct. 2, 2021. Flights will initially be four times per week, with plans to increase to daily service in 2022. Seats are available for booking at aircanada.com, via the Air Canada App, Air Canada’s Contact Centres and travel agencies.

“We are pleased to strategically add another popular transborder service as we continue restoring our Canada-U.S. network. Orange County is known for iconic tourism, sports and entertainment, high tech industries and more, and our service to John Wayne Airport offers customers another convenient airport choice in the greater Los Angeles area. Our schedule enables convenient connections through our Vancouver hub to and from our destinations across Canada. We look forward to welcoming our customers onboard,” said Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada.

The addition of Orange County to its U.S. network follows Air Canada’s recent announcement of new transborder routes from Quebec City to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale that begin this November. By this fall, Air Canada will offer up to 240 daily flights to and from 35 destinations in the U.S. The airline plans to restore services to all 57 U.S. destinations it operated prior to the COVID-19 pandemic as conditions allow.

The Canadian federal government has adjusted restrictions on travel between Canada and the U.S. as of Aug. 9, 2021, enabling fully vaccinated Americans to enter Canada for non-essential travel, the removal of quarantine hotel requirements for travellers entering or returning to Canada, relaxed testing requirements allowing Canadians taking short transborder trips for less than 72 hours to do their pre-entry tests in Canada, among other measures.

FlightDepartsArrivesDays of Operation
AC582Vancouver (YVR) at 9:00
a.m.
Orange County (SNA)
at 11:59 a.m.
Oct 2-Dec. 19: 
Mon/Thu/Sat/SunDec. 20-Jan 9:Mon/Thu/Fri/Sat/SunJan 10 onwards:daily
AC583Orange County (SNA) at
1:10 p.m.
Vancouver (YVR) at
3:59 p.m.
Same as above

Air Canada’s Orange County flights will be operated onboard Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft offering a choice of Premium and Economy cabins and upgraded in-flight entertainment at every seat throughout the aircraft. All customers can collect and redeem Aeroplan Points through Canada’s leading loyalty program when travelling with Air Canada, and eligible customers have access to priority check-in, Maple Leaf Lounges at Canadian airports, priority boarding and other benefits. Air Canada’s commercial schedule may be adjusted as required based on the COVID-19 trajectory and government restrictions.

New digital solution via Air Canada App simplifies COVID-19 related document requirements

Air Canada has developed a new digital solution via the Air Canada App, enabling customers flying between Canada and the U.S. and between Canada and select European destinations to conveniently and securely scan and upload COVID-19 test results to validate compliance with government travel requirements prior to arriving at the airport. More information is at: https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/book/travel-news-and-updates/2020/covid-19/document-validation.html.

New Refund Policy gives customer choices and options

Air Canada’s new refund policy of offering customers options of refunds, an Air Canada Travel Voucher or equivalent value in Aeroplan Points with a 65 per cent bonus should the airline cancel or reschedule a flight by more than three hours, is applicable to all tickets purchased.

Travelling internationally?

Check our COVID-19 hub or IATA’s Timatic website for the most recent government entry requirements. Customers are responsible for making sure they meet all government entry requirements. In particular, they will need to have all required travel documents, visas and health certificates and comply with all other entry criteria that apply to the flights for which they have purchased tickets. Government requirements may change at short notice.

About Air Canada

Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline and, in 2019, was among the top 20 largest airlines in the world. It is Canada’s flag carrier and a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network. Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax. In 2020, Air Canada was named Global Traveler’s Best Airline in North America for the second straight year. In January 2021, Air Canada received APEX’s Diamond Status Certification for the Air Canada CleanCare+ biosafety program for managing COVID-19, the only airline in Canada to attain the highest APEX ranking. Air Canada has also committed to a net zero emissions goal from all global operations by 2050.

YVR Celebrates Two Top Honours in 2021 Skytrax World Airport Awards

YVR voted best airport in North America for 12th consecutive year, and earns the first COVID-19 Airport Excellence Award, the only Canadian airport to be recognized.

August 10, 2021 · Richmond, B.C.

Today, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) celebrated being named Best Airport in North America for a record 12 years in a row by the Skytrax World Airport Awards. Skytrax is recognized as the global benchmark of airport excellence with more than 21.65 million completed passenger questionnaires, making it the largest annual global airport customer satisfaction survey. The survey measures 39 elements in the airport travel experience including check-in, security, comfort, efficiency, signage, guest service, transportation, passenger amenities and friendliness. YVR is the only airport in the world to receive this designation for 12 consecutive years.

YVR also received the Skytrax COVID-19 Airport Excellence award, the only airport in Canada to do so. With the airport experience changing dramatically since early 2020, this new award recognizes those airports selected by passengers for providing the highest health, hygiene and safety protocols during the global pandemic. Passengers rated airports across key categories, such as COVID-19 information signage, access to hand sanitizer and terminal and washroom cleanliness.

“It’s an honour for YVR to be recognized as the best airport in North America for 12 years in a row. To also be recognized in the new award category of COVID-19 Airport Excellence, as one of the cleanest, safest and healthiest airports in the world, is a true testament to the expertise, hard work and dedication of our entire airport community,” said Tamara Vrooman, President & CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority. “Thank you to everyone who has contributed—from quickly implementing the ever-changing travel measures to operating the airport safely and with the highest levels of service delivery in our industry, this is something we can all be proud of.”

The airport plays a vital role in the region, enabling trade, travel and the exchange of knowledge, in service of the community and the economy that supports it. Since early 2020, YVR prioritized addressing what it means to operate an airport during a global pandemic and then beyond while maintaining its focus on delivering a safe and efficient passenger experience. Together, the Best Airport in North America and the COVID-19 Airport Excellence accolades reflect the strength of YVR and its role in the recovery and future growth of the region, province and country.

These awards come at a time when passenger numbers are increasing, and the world is slowly reopening to travel and tourism. YVR remains steadfast in ensuring a safe journey through the airport, which includes its TAKEcare program, a health and safety approach that places industry-leading health, safety and cleaning practices and protocols at the forefront of airport processes.

Please visit yvr.ca/ready for information and tips to prepare for your next trip through YVR.

Visit worldairportawards.com for more information about the awards.

COVID-19: Airlines begin restoring links to YVR ahead of Canada’s easing of travel restrictions

YVR has seen traffic increase in step with every relaxation of restrictions, although countries remain on guard against successive, variant-driven waves of COVID-19

Derrick Penner  •  Publishing date: Aug 03, 2021

YVR has seen traffic increase in step with every relaxation of restrictions, although countries remain on guard against successive, variant-driven waves of COVID-19.
YVR has seen traffic increase in step with every relaxation of restrictions, although countries remain on guard against successive, variant-driven waves of COVID-19. PHOTO BY KIMB /jpg

German national air carrier Lufthansa has reinstated flights between Vancouver and Munich, adding its name to a growing list of airlines that are expanding operations ahead of Canada’s expected reopening to international travel on Sept. 7.

The first Lufthansa flight departed YVR on Saturday evening, with three-days-a-week service including Mondays and Thursdays, increasing to five flights per week in September, in addition to six flights a week to Frankfurt that are already on the airline’s schedule.

COVID-19: Travel focus is on B.C. for people of B.C., Dr. Henry says | Vancouver Sun

“Canada is a key pillar of Lufthansa Group’s transatlantic routes and relationships with North America,” Lufthansa manager Brendan Shashoua said in a statement, noting that the company’s restart of service from Vancouver comes ahead of Washington, D.C., Miami and San Francisco this fall.

At YVR, Lufthansa joins a list of airlines that includes American, Aeromexico, Air Transat and Sunwing that have been restoring service, according to a statement from airport staff.

Vancouver International saw 150,000 passengers pass through its terminals last week, compared with just 72,000 for the same week a year ago, but still a far cry from its pre-COVID summer passenger loads of 90,000 to 100,000 passengers per day.

The airport expects those counts to increase to 161,000 passengers per week over the remainder of the summer.

On July 19, when Canada announced its plan to relax quarantine restrictions on visitors, airport executive Robyn McVickers told Postmedia that travel increased “exponentially” after lifting restrictions on Canadian citizens returning to Canada and anticipated a similar level of growth when tourists are allowed.

However, while the international airline industry is under pressure to reconnect air travel, which remained down 71 per cent from pre-pandemic levels, according to an industry association, countries remain on guard for successive waves driven by COVID variants and uneven levels of vaccination.

Lufthansa expects there to be “pent-up demand” for travel, but Canada hasn’t dropped its advisory recommending against non-essential travel outside the country, including to Germany, telling Canadians, “If you must travel, check the risk levels specific to your destination.”

Lufthansa is advising passengers that they will need to research travel requirements and entry regulations, which for Germany include vaccination or testing.

On July 4, Germany lifted entry restrictions for Canadians to enter the country by air “for all travel purposes,” provided they can show vaccination status, proof of recovery from COVID, or negative test results, similar to the requirements Canada will have in place as of Sept. 7.

Canada is expected to drop its quarantine requirements for non-essential visitors starting Aug. 9 for Americans then Sept. 7 for international travellers, although Germany also continues to recommend against non-essential travel outside of the country for its citizens.

Germany also plans to offer booster COVID-19 shots of mRNA vaccines to vulnerable individuals, according to the Reuters news agency. The country has reported about 2,000 new infections per day since July 29.

Air Transat inaugurates its first direct flight between Vancouver and Quebec City

VANCOUVER, BC, Aug. 2, 2021 /CNW/ – Air Transat celebrates the launch of its brand-new direct service between Vancouver and Quebec City, becoming the first and only airline to operate this route. Flights will be offered once a week, on Mondays from Vancouver and on Sundays from Quebec City, until October 25.

From left to right: Charles Thivierge – Captain; Linda Lancup – Flight Attendant; Marie-Josée Paiement – Flight Attendant; Mario Blais – Captain; Sonia Renaud – Flight Director; Ghislain Charette – Flight Attendant (CNW Group/Transat A.T. Inc.)
From left to right: Charles Thivierge – Captain; Linda Lancup – Flight Attendant; Marie-Josée Paiement – Flight Attendant; Mario Blais – Captain; Sonia Renaud – Flight Director; Ghislain Charette – Flight Attendant (CNW Group/Transat A.T. Inc.)

“It was only natural for us to add this route to our summer schedule,” says Joseph Adamo, Transat’s Chief Sales and Marketing Officer. “As we predicted, travellers are showing a strong interest in domestic destinations, so we are pleased to offer them this new route linking two of Canada’s most important tourist hubs.”

This morning, to mark the inauguration of this new route, the 163 passengers of the very first TS969 flight from Vancouver were welcomed in a festive manner at the Vancouver International Airport (YVR). This comes a day after 185 passengers boarded the inaugural TS968 flight from Quebec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB).

“We are thrilled to welcome Air Transat back to Canada’s skies with its new service connecting YVR to beautiful Quebec City,” says Tamara Vrooman, President and CEO of Vancouver International Airport. “The addition of this seasonal flight provides travellers with more options when flying domestically from YVR and is a strong signal of confidence from Air Transat as it rejoins Canada’s airlines in the effort to reopen travel and tourism across the country, safely and in a measured approach. At YVR, we are ready to welcome back all passengers to the airport and are committed to delivering a safe and seamless experience to our passengers who, thanks to Air Transat, now have another great destination to visit direct from Vancouver.”

“Now that we can start travelling again, Air Transat is inviting people from Quebec City to discover Western Canada starting this summer,” says Stéphane Poirier, President and CEO of Quebec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport. “The addition of flights to Vancouver meets a demand expressed by the population for many years and is aligned with our objective to improve air service from Quebec City. We welcome Air Transat’s confidence in our market. We hope that passengers will choose YQB as their departure point for their next trip.”

The route will be operated by next-generation Airbus A321neoLR aircraft, which feature spacious cabins and state-of-the-art in-seat entertainment systems and have the lowest fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (CO2 and NOx) emissions in their class.

This summer, from Vancouver, Air Transat will also offer direct flights to Montreal and Toronto. 

About Air Transat
Air Transat is a leading leisure travel brand established nearly 35 years ago that offers domestic and connecting flights within Canada as well as international flights to destinations of choice in the Americas and Europe. Air Transat and its personnel strive to serve travellers with enthusiasm and friendliness, emphasizing safety at all stages of their travel experience. The carrier’s multiple initiatives aimed at reducing its carbon emissions include operation of a fleet of new-generation Airbus aircraft and development of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Air Transat has been voted World’s Best Leisure Airline by passengers at the Skytrax World Airline Awards.

Air Transat is a business unit of Transat A.T. Inc., an integrated international tourism company headquartered in Montreal that was awarded Travelife certification in 2018 in recognition of its sustainability commitments. Visit airtransat.com or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Recent distinctions and awards

  • World’s Best Leisure Airline at the Skytrax World Airline Awards
  • Ranked 2nd Travel and Leisure Company and 57th overall on Forbes World’s Best Employers List
  • Best Tour Operator and Favourite Overall Supplier at the Agents’ Choice Awards presented by Baxter Travel Media