International traffic at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is set to rise to 21 million passengers by 2010, boosted in part by the city’s hosting of the Winter Olympics in 2010. The airport is also important for the economy of British Columbia as well as being its global gateway.
To handle this growing traffic, as well as accommodate the larger aircraft of the future, the airport authority is undertaking a CAN$1bn capital programme that is expected to generate 5,200 person years of employment and CAN$525m in direct GDP. To fund the capital projects, the airport authority is continuing its Airport Improvement Fee (AIF).
OPENING GATES TO THE FUTURE
The biggest project, which is costing CAN$420m, aims to add nine gates to the international terminal. Phase one, scheduled to open in early 2007, will add five gates, two of which will be wide enough to take the new Airbus A380. The second phase, an additional four gates, will be completed in 2009.
Building on YVR’s distinctive design, the new wing will have a large aquarium of indigenous Pacific West Coast marine life, a jellyfish tank and a stream running through the centre of the building.
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The expansion will add more than 56,000m² of floor space. There will also be close to 1km of moving walkways to facilitate the movement of passengers.
In keeping with its goal of being a sustainable and environmentally conscious organisation, the airport authority has committed up to CAN$300m to fund the airport portion of the Canada Line rapid transit link.
Scheduled to begin operations in late 2009, the line will connect downtown Vancouver, Richmond City Centre and Vancouver International Airport. The 19km transit line will add the equivalent of a ten-lane roadway.
Currently, airport access for passengers, employees and commercial traffic is shared with other local traffic, including Vancouver–Richmond commuters Approximately 26,000 people work at YVR; by 2027, that number is expected to grow to 41,000 people.
The Link Building, which is costing up to CAN$125m, will be the docking area for the line and will link the international and domestic terminals. The Link Building will provide increased international check-in capacity, passenger screening, additional baggage systems and office space.
When completed in summer 2007, the five-storey building will be connected to the Canada Line station via a covered walkway, and will serve as a central hub for passengers travelling through YVR. The Link Building’s design will complement the existing architecture of YVR.
The airport has also implemented a series of passenger processing initiatives to help travellers move quickly and efficiently through the airport. YVR FasTrack includes a programme to speed up border control for low-risk travellers entering the USA. The airport is also expanding the deployment of its self-service check-in desks.
Nexus Air is a pilot programme only available at YVR. In partnership with Canadian and US government agencies, it is aimed at easing the process of flying to and from the USA for pre-approved, low-risk travellers.
Using biometric iris recognition technology, passengers can bypass border control by using automated kiosks to answer questions similar to those an inspection officer would ask a passenger entering Canada or leaving Vancouver for a US destination. Nexus complements the Canpass Air programme, which uses the same technology and can be used for passengers returning to Canada from the USA and other international destinations.
As part of the YVR FasTrack Check-in programme, self-service check-in kiosks make checking in faster and more convenient. In addition to kiosks throughout the terminals, the parkade and at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport hotel, YVR is installing kiosks in downtown hotels so passengers can check in before they get to the airport.
New shops and restaurants will be added to YVR’s award-winning retail programme, in both the domestic and international terminals. In addition, passengers will benefit from terminal and facility upgrades to the baggage systems and parking, for example, resulting in more efficient passenger processing and improved customer service.