Vancouver International Airport

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"Vancouver Airport" redirects here. For other airports in Vancouver, see List of airports in the Vancouver area.
Vancouver International Airport
Vancouver International Airport (logo as of 2007).svg
Vancouver International Airport Aerial.JPG
WMO: 71892
Airport type Public
Owner Transport Canada
Operator Vancouver Airport Authority
Serves Metro Vancouver
Location Richmond, British Columbia
Hub for Air Canada
Time zone PST (UTC−08:00)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−07:00)
Elevation AMSL 14 ft / 4 m
Coordinates 49°11′41″N 123°11′02″W / 49.19472°N 123.18389°W / 49.19472; -123.18389Coordinates: 49°11′41″N 123°11′02″W / 49.19472°N 123.18389°W / 49.19472; -123.18389
CYVR is located in Vancouver
Location in Vancouver
Direction Length Surface
ft m
08L/26R 9,940 3,030 Concrete
08R/26L 11,500 3,505 Asphalt/Concrete
13/31 7,300 2,225 Asphalt/Concrete
Number Length Surface
ft m
A Unmarked arrival/departure hover area
B 79 24 Asphalt
C 110 34 Concrete
Statistics (2013)
Aircraft movements 300,454[1]
Number of passengers 17,971,883[2]
Sources: Canada Flight Supplement[3]
Environment Canada[4]
Movements from Vancouver Airport Authority[5]
Passenger statistics from Vancouver Airport Authority.[6]

Vancouver International Airport (IATA: YVRICAO: CYVR) is located on Sea Island in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, about 12 km (7.5 mi) from Downtown Vancouver. In 2012, it was the second busiest airport in Canada by aircraft movements (296,394[5]) and passengers (17.6 million[6]), behind Toronto Pearson International Airport. It has non-stop flights daily to Asia, Europe, Oceania, the United States, and Mexico, and other airports within Canada. The airport has won several notable international best airport awards; it won the Skytrax Best North American Airport award in 2007 and 2010 through 2014. The airport also made the list of top 10 airports in the world for the first time in 2012, rated at 9th (2012), 8th (2013), and 9th (2014) overall.[7] It is the only North American airport included in the top 10 for 2013 and 2014.[7][8][9][10] YVR also retains the distinction of Best Canadian Airport in the regional results.[11] It is a hub for Air Canada as well as a focus city for WestJet. It is also an operating base for Air Transat. Vancouver International Airport is one of eight Canadian airports that have US Border Preclearance facilities. It is also one of the few major international airports to have a terminal for scheduled floatplanes.

Vancouver International Airport is owned by Transport Canada[12] and is managed by Vancouver Airport Authority,[13] which also manages other airports around the world through its Vancouver Airport Services subsidiary.


In 1927, Charles Lindbergh refused to include Vancouver in his North American tour because of the lack of a proper airport. Two years later, the city purchased land on Sea Island for aviation purposes, replacing the original grass airstrip at Minoru Park. During World War II, the airports and its original terminal, now the South Terminal, were leased to the Federal government and operated by the Department of National Defence and the Department of Transport. The airport was a base for Royal Canadian Air Force training The crews and their families were housed in a new townsite on the island, named Burkeville after Boeing president Stanley Burke. Funds from the lease were used to purchase additional land for new hangars and a production plant for Boeing Aircraft of Canada.[14]

The present main terminal was completed in 1968, and has since been expanded to include separate domestic and international terminals. A north runway was completed in 1996.

In 2011 the airport announced that it will enact a program aiming to encourage airlines to start more flights between Vancouver and Asia.[15]

Gateway Its proximity to Asia in relation to the rest of Canada, as well as the large Asian population and Canadian-Asian business connections in the region, make Vancouver International Airport the major gateway between Canada and Asia. It has more trans-Pacific flights than any other airport in Canada.[citation needed]


Vancouver International Airport has three terminals:

The International and Domestic terminals are one very large building divided into two sections, while the South terminal is located in a remote part of the airport. The South Terminal serves regional airlines which fly mostly within British Columbia. The International Terminal serves international destinations, with most US-bound flights utilising the US Border Preclearance facilities in the International Terminal.

The South Terminal houses the corporate headquarters of Pacific Coastal Airlines.[18]

YVR is one of eight Canadian airports that has United States border preclearance facilities. The International terminal uses glass partitions to physically separate US-bound passengers from others through to boarding.

Free high speed Wi-Fi internet access is available in the International and Domestic Terminals.


YVR's interior has a uniquely British Columbian theme, featuring one of the most extensive collections of Pacific Northwest Coast Native art in the world, and blues and greens to reflect the colours of the land, sea and sky. The airport uses a great deal of carpet and vast expanses of glass to let in large amounts of natural light. One of the most noticeable places for an arriving passenger is the International arrivals hall, a large area where customs and immigration procedures are completed. Arriving passengers come down escalators leading to a platform across a large waterfall. The YVR aboriginal art collection includes wooden sculptures and totem poles. Bill Reid's sculpture in bronze, "The Spirit of Haida Gwaii, The Jade Canoe", is displayed in the international departures area. This is the second of two castings of this sculpture; the first casting, "The Spirit of Haida Gwaii, The Black Canoe", is now displayed outside the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C.[19] The Institute for Stained Glass in Canada has documented the stained glass at Vancouver International Airport.[20]


Vancouver International Airport is well regarded as one of the most accessible airports in the world. In 2004, the Vancouver International Airport was awarded of the Rick Hansen Accessibility Award, which recognizes "facilities and communities that improve the quality of life for people with mobility limitations".[21] The Vancouver International Airport has exceeded national building code requirements with respect to access for people with disabilities, which Hansen has said "benefits not only people in wheelchairs, but the elderly, the blind, parents pushing strollers and everyone else with mobility problems".[21]

Since 1992, the Vancouver Airport Authority has been working with an independent accessibility consultant to eliminate the physical barriers in the built environment, and is "committed to providing fully accessible terminal facilities for people of all backgrounds and capabilities".[22] With 80% of the vacationing traveling public over the age of 55, and with more than 550 million people world-wide that have a disability, the Vancouver International Airport's commitment to meaningful access is a fundamental part of good customer service.[23]

Designated short-term parking spaces and curb-side ramps are available on each level of the terminal building for vehicles displaying a valid SPARC permit, and are located next to main doors near check-in counters and baggage claim areas for easier access. Lowered counters with toe clearance for wheelchair users are also available at check-in, customer care, and all retail outlets in the Vancouver Airport. Bathrooms have also been designed to be wheelchair accessible with doorless and no-touch entry features, lowered sinks, and handsfree bathroom dispensers. Grab bars and emergency call buttons are also present in all wheelchair accessible toilet stalls.[24]

Low resistance carpeting and other materials such as laminate flooring have been utilized throughout the airport to make it easier for people using wheelchairs and walkers to move throughout the airport. Elevators are large and allow for easy turning in a wheelchair, and special wheelchairs designed to fit down aircraft aisles are utilized to assist with boarding and de-planing. Wheelchair lifts have been installed at aircraft gates to provide disabled passengers with their own wheelchairs as quickly as possible after an aircraft lands in Vancouver.[22]

Features that have been implemented throughout the Vancouver Airport to aid those with hearing loss include a public address system that is designed to reduce noise pollution for those with hearing aids. The Vancouver Airport has installed more individual speakers in a given space than is standard, which allows the volume of the speakers to be turned down and provides a better quality of sound. At check-in counters, amplified handsets are available to aid those with hearing aids, and all telephones throughout the airport have adjustable volume controls. "Visual pagers" are dedicated video monitors that are located throughout the airport and convey important information to travellers that have hearing impairments. In the event of an emergency, a video override system displays large bold messages on all entertainment systems, and provides information about the type of emergency and the required course of action from the public. Strobe fire alarms have also been installed throughout the airport, and have been carefully programmed to prevent seizures to those with epilepsy.[24] The Vancouver Airport has its own TTY telephone number for incoming inquiries about airport operations, and within the terminal there are also 23 public telephone equipped with TTY at both stand up and seated positions.[24]

Vancouver Airport also has numerous features that have been implemented to assist visually impaired travellers. Three types of flooring are utilized throughout the terminal and function as a texturized guide to assist travellers in identifying their location within the airport. In areas with tile or terrazzo, patterns in the tile help to identify exits. Areas that have carpet help to identify that a gate is close by, and areas with laminate flooring indicate retail spaces.[22] Tactile maps are also available at customer service counters throughout the airport, and braille and tactile lettering are used throughout the airport to indicate building features such as washrooms.[24]

Green Coat Ambassadors[edit]

Vancouver Airport Authority was one of the first airports in North America to institute a volunteer program in 1989.[25] Volunteers in green vest/jacket are deployed around the airport to provide information, customer service and be the 'eyes and ears' for the various partners in the airport community between the hours of 6 am to 10 pm everyday.[26] Volunteers are given basic training in airport operations and undertake many of the similar trainings mandated to airport employees. Each volunteer is required to obtain Transportation Security Clearance and Restricted Area Identification Card for the purposes of accessing the restricted and sterile areas of the terminal.

YVR Sustainability[edit]

For more information, see YVR Sustainability.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Air Canada domestic check-in facilities at the Domestic Terminal.
All official signage in the terminal buildings is trilingual (English, French, and Simplified Chinese).
International arrivals hall
US Preclearance Annexe of the International Terminal's check-in hall.
A Canadian Aboriginal wood sculpture, located on the first floor of the domestic terminal.
The Spirit of Haida Gwaii, the Jade Canoe, located on the International departure level
Cathay Pacific Cargo plane taking off on a snowy day
Aerial shot showing Georgia Strait near airport
A Korean Air Boeing 777-200 bound to Seoul-Incheon being serviced.
Floatplanes at YVR South Terminal
Airlines Destinations Terminal
Air Canada Beijing–Capital, Calgary, Edmonton, Hong Kong, Honolulu (ends November 20, 2014),[27] Kahului (ends November 30, 2014),[27] Kelowna, London–Heathrow, Mexico City, Montréal–Trudeau, Newark, Ottawa, Seoul–Incheon, Shanghai–Pudong, Sydney, Tokyo–Narita, Toronto–Pearson, Winnipeg
Seasonal: Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Kailua-Kona, San José del Cabo, Whitehorse
Air Canada Express Castlegar, Cranbrook, Fort McMurray, Fort St. John, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Penticton, Portland (OR), Prince George, Prince Rupert, Regina, Sandspit, Saskatoon, Seattle/Tacoma, Smithers, Terrace, Victoria, Whitehorse
Seasonal: Calgary
Air Canada Rouge Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu (begins November 21, 2014),[27] Kahului (begins December 1, 2014)[27]
Seasonal: Anchorage, Osaka-Kansai (begins May 1, 2015),[28] Palm Springs (begins December 18, 2014),[29] Phoenix (begins December 17, 2014),[30] Puerto Vallarta (begins November 1, 2014)
Air China Beijing–Capital International
Air New Zealand Auckland International
Air North Whitehorse Domestic
Air North Seasonal Charter: Masset, Sandspit South
Air Transat London–Gatwick
Seasonal: Amsterdam, Cancún, Glasgow–International, Manchester (UK), Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Puerto Vallarta
Alaska Airlines Los Angeles Transborder
Alaska Airlines
operated by Horizon Air
Portland (OR), Seattle/Tacoma Transborder
All Nippon Airways Tokyo–Haneda International
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth Transborder
American Eagle Los Angeles (begins November 6, 2014)[31] Transborder
British Airways London–Heathrow International
Canadian North Charter: Kelowna, Kamloops South
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong, New York–JFK International
Central Mountain Air Campbell River, Comox, Dawson Creek, Quesnel, Williams Lake Domestic
China Airlines Taipei–Taoyuan International
China Eastern Airlines Shanghai–Pudong International
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou International
Condor Seasonal: Frankfurt International
Delta Air Lines Seasonal: Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St Paul, New York–JFK, Salt Lake City International,
Delta Connection Los Angeles (begins December 20, 2014), Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City, Seattle/Tacoma Transborder
Edelweiss Air Seasonal: Zurich [32] International
EVA Air Taipei–Taoyuan International
First Air Seasonal Charter: Edmonton, Yellowknife South
Flair Airlines Charter: Kelowna, Comox, Fort Nelson, Victoria South
Harbour Air Ganges Harbour, Galiano Island, Miners Bay, Saturna Island, Bedwell Harbour, Victoria Harbour, Nanaimo South
Hawkair Prince Rupert, Smithers, Terrace Domestic
HeliJet Victoria Harbour South
Icelandair Seasonal: Reykjavík–Keflavík [33] International
Island Express Air Abbotsford, Nanaimo, Victoria, Tofino South
Japan Airlines Tokyo–Narita International
Kelowna Flightcraft Air Charter Masset, Sandspit, Kelowna South
KLM Amsterdam International
Korean Air Seoul–Incheon International
Lufthansa Frankfurt
Seasonal: Munich
Miami Air International Seasonal Charter: Anchorage, Ketchikan, Miami, Nome International
Northern Thunderbird Air Mackenzie, Prince George, Smithers South
Orca Airways Qualicum Beach, Tofino, Victoria South
Pacific Coastal Airlines Anahim Lake, Bella Coola, Campbell River, Comox, Cranbrook, Masset, Port Hardy, Powell River, Trail, Victoria, Williams Lake South
Pat Bay Air Cowichan Bay, Victoria Harbour, Victoria South
Philippine Airlines Manila, Toronto, New York–JFK (begins March 15, 2015)[34] International
Qantas Sydney (resumes 4 January 2015; ends 22 January 2015)[35] International
Salt Spring Air Ganges Harbour, Maple Bay, Victoria South
San Juan Airlines Anacortes, Bellingham, Seattle-Boeing Field/King County Airport, Friday Harbor South
Seair Seaplanes[36] Bedwell Harbour, Galiano Island, Ganges Harbour, Miners Bay, Nanaimo, Port Washington, Saturna Island, Sechelt, Thetis Island South
Sichuan Airlines Chengdu, Shenyang[37] International
Sunwing Airlines Charter:Cancún, Puerto Vallarta
Seasonal Charter: Freeport (begins November 1, 2014), Huatulco, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Los Cabos, Mazatlán, Toronto–Pearson, Varadero
Tofino Air Gabriola Island, Sechelt South
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, San Francisco
Seasonal: Newark, Washington–Dulles[38]
United Express Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco Transborder
US Airways Phoenix Transborder
US Airways Express Los Angeles (ends November 5, 2014), Phoenix Transborder
West Coast Air Nanaimo, Sechelt, Victoria Harbour South
WestJet Calgary, Cancún, Edmonton, Honolulu, Kahului, Kailua-Kona, Kelowna, Las Vegas, Lihue, Los Angeles, Orange County, Palm Springs, Prince George, Toronto–Pearson, Winnipeg
Seasonal: Chicago–O'Hare, Mazatlán, Montréal–Trudeau, Ottawa, Phoenix, Puerto Vallarta, Regina, San Francisco, San José del Cabo, Saskatoon, Whitehorse
WestJet Encore Fort McMurray, Fort St. John, Kelowna, Prince George, Terrace,[39] Victoria[40]
Seasonal:Calgary (begins December 20, 2014 ends January 4, 2015), Edmonton (one off January 4, 2015)
Whistler Air[41] Charter: Whistler/Green Lake South


Airlines Destinations
Ameriflight Ketchikan
Antonov Airlines Kiev–Boryspil
Cargojet Airways Calgary, Hamilton, Montréal–Mirabel, Winnipeg
Cathay Pacific Cargo Anchorage, Columbus, Hong Kong, Los Angeles
China Southern Cargo Los Angeles, Shanghai–Pudong
DHL Aviation
operated by ABX Air
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Seattle–Boeing
DHL Aviation
operated by Airpac Airlines[42]
FedEx Express Memphis
FedEx Feeder
operated by Empire Airlines
Oakland, Spokane
FedEx Feeder
operated by Morningstar Air Express
Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto–Pearson, Victoria, Winnipeg
Orca Airways Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Victoria
Korean Air Cargo Guadalajara, Seoul–Incheon
Purolator Courier
operated by Kelowna Flightcraft Air Charter
Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Kelowna, Victoria, Winnipeg
SkyLink Express Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Victoria
UPS Airlines Louisville, Seattle–Boeing


In May 2005, the federal government, which owns the airport land, announced it was cutting rent costs by 54%. The rent reductions will cut the cost of the lease by approximately $840 million CAD between 2006–2020, or $5.0 billion over the term of the lease, which ends in 2052. Currently, the airport authority pays about $80 million each year in rent.

Passengers traveling through YVR are no longer required to pay a separate airport improvement fee; it is now included in the ticket price.

Public transit connections[edit]

Rapid Transit - SkyTrain[edit]

Construction of the Skytrain Canada Line .

The international and domestic terminals are served by YVR–Airport Station, a terminus station of the Canada Line. A connector ($117 million, completed in 2007) links the international terminal with the domestic terminal, and serves as the arrival and departure area for users of the Canada Line. The Canada Line, one of three existing lines of Metro Vancouver's SkyTrain rapid transit network, opened in August 2009, in advance of the 2010 Winter Olympics in the following February. Vancouver's airport is the only one in Canada with a rail rapid transit connection. Vancouver International Airport contributed $300 million to the Canada Line construction.


Late at night and during Canada Line service interruptions, the N10 night bus connects the airport's international and domestic terminals to Richmond and downtown Vancouver. The airport's south terminal is served by the C92 bus, which connects to the Canada Line at Bridgeport Station.

Future expansion[edit]

YVR recently completed a $1.4-billion multi-year capital development plan, which included a four-gate expansion to the International Terminal Wing, completed in June 2007. Two of the four new gates are conventional wide-bodied gates, and two are able to accommodate the Airbus A380. The international terminal addition includes interior design elements intended to represent British Columbia, including a stream in a pathway and fish and jellyfish tanks.

Also recently completed was a five-gate and food and retail expansion in the Domestic Terminal's C-Pier, completed in 2009, and the Canada Line rapid transit link between YVR, Richmond and downtown Vancouver, which opened in August 2009.

Vancouver International Airport Authority has developed a 2007-2027 Master Plan and Land Use Plan, a look forward 20 years to ensure YVR will be able to accommodate the passengers it expects. It is asking the community for input and toured local malls with an informational display to elicit feedback. The tour is complete, but the public can still provide feedback through the Master Plan section of the YVR website, where a copy of the draft Master Plan recommendations is also available.[43]

Operation Yellow Ribbon[edit]

The airport's reputation as a gateway airport between Asia and North America was made evident during Operation Yellow Ribbon on September 11, 2001. With U.S. airspace closed as a result of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, there was no choice for Vancouver International Airport but to take part in the operation since it was the only major Canadian airport on the West Coast of Canada that has the capability of handling large aircraft for trans-Pacific flights. The airport handled 34 flights, the third highest total of flights that landed at a Canadian airport involved in the operation, behind Halifax and Gander, carrying 8,500 passengers, more passengers than any other Canadian airport, from Asia to destinations on the United States West Coast and points beyond.

The airport won the 2001 Airport Management Award from the B.C. Aviation Council[44] and was cited for overcoming many challenges in a professional and compassionate way.[45]


There are several fixed base operators that service aircraft at Vancouver International Airport:

Other facilities[edit]

At one time Pacific Western Airlines had its corporate headquarters at the airport.[46]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • On August 19, 1995, Douglas C-47B C-GZOF of Air North crashed on approach killing one of the three crew. The aircraft was on a ferry flight to Prince Rupert Airport when the starboard propellor went into overspeed and the decision was made to return to Vancouver International.[48]
  • On October 19, 1995, a Canadian Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aborted takeoff on runway 26 (now 26L) two seconds after the V1 call. The aircraft ended up in the soft ground west of the end of runway, causing the failure of the nose gear. All 243 passengers and 14 crew escaped with no more than minor injuries.[49]
  • On October 14, 2007, a Polish immigrant, Robert Dziekanski, died after being shot with a taser by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at the airport. Dziekański, who did not speak English, became agitated after waiting approximately 10 hours at the arrivals hall because he could not find his mother. While police were attempting to take Dziekanski into custody he was tased by officers and subsequently died. The subsequent Braidwood Inquiry began in May 2008. In June, 2010, the judge found that the use of the Taser was not justified. The RCMP issued an apology to Dziekanski's mother. The commission also found that Tasers have the capability to injure or kill by causing heart irregularities, especially where the individual is medically or emotionally compromised.[50]
  • On October 19, 2007, at approximately 4:10 pm, a Piper Seneca bound for Pitt Meadows Airport took off from YVR and crashed into a nearby apartment building in Richmond. The pilot was the sole occupant of the plane. He was killed in the crash. Two others were injured, both of whom were in the apartment building at the time.
  • On September 18, 2008, in the afternoon, an Air Canada Airbus A340 collided with an Air Canada Jazz Dash 8 aircraft. The Jazz flight was taxiing on the runway when it collided. The Air Canada flight was bound for Hong Kong. Both aircraft received damage but there were no injuries or fatalities.
  • On July 9, 2009, at approximately 10:08pm, a Piper Navajo airplane originating from Victoria crashed into an industrial area in Richmond, across from IKEA on Sweden Way. The two pilots were killed. It was owned and operated by Canadian Air Charters and was carrying units of blood for Canadian Blood Services at the time. Officials say that wake turbulence was the main cause of the crash. Fatigue, along with diminished depth perception in darkness, was also a factor.[51]
  • On May 15, 2010, at just before 11:00am, a Cathay Pacific Airbus A340 commercial flight from Hong Kong was intercepted by two Canadian CF-18 Hornets in response to a bomb threat. The plane landed with no incidents, and ultimately no bomb was found on board.[52][53]
  • On October 27, 2011, at around 4:15pm, a Northern Thunderbird Air Beechcraft King Air 100 attempted to land on the south runway but missed by about 900 metres (3,000 ft), hitting a lamppost and car, then crashing on nearby Russ Baker Way and Gilbert Road at the west end of Dinsmore Bridge. There were seven passengers and two crew members on board; only the pilot was confirmed dead at 9:00 pm that evening, while the others survived with various injuries. Two on the ground were also injured.[54] On November 16, 2011, the co-pilot of the flight died as well.[55]

Nearby major airports[edit]

Blank map.svg
Map pointer black.svgYVR
Red Dot.svgSEA (205 km (127 mi))
Dot-yellow.svgPDX (403 km (250 mi))
Dot-yellow.svgYYC (688 km (428 mi))
Small-city-symbol.svgYEG (811 km (504 mi))
Small-city-symbol.svgYYJ (63 km (39 mi))
Small-city-symbol.svgYLW (288 km (179 mi))


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  2. ^
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  28. ^ [1]
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  42. ^ Airpac Airlines Home
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External links[edit]