YVR sees year-on-year passenger increase

The Vancouver International Airport Authority (VIAA) significantly increased passenger counts in January at B.C.’s largest airport (YVR) thanks in part to Air Canada and WestJet posting stronger results than they did a year ago.

“I was pleased this morning when I looked at our January numbers for passenger growth,” VIAA CEO Larry Berg told Business in Vancouver February 8.

“January 2012, over January 2011, is up about 5.5%. The Asia Pacific part of that is up about 8%.”

Earlier this week, Air Canada and WestJet announced strong January passenger counts.

Air Canada noted that its planes were 79.1% full in January, up from 78% in the same month a year ago.

And WestJet reported that its planes were 79.9% full in January, compared with 77.8% in January 2011.

“WestJet has really added capacity here,” said Berg, “and their passenger loads have increased,”

Much of WestJet’s added capacity at YVR came between 2006 and 2010 and has been for flights to U.S. destinations.

WestJet flew just seven cross-border flights per week in August 2006; in August 2010 that had increased eightfold to 56 flights per week. (See “YVR lands new carriers, sets sights on reversing drop in passenger counts” – issue 1156; December 20-26, 2011.)

YVR’s passenger count hit 17,032,742 in 2011, up 1.5% from the 16,778,774 passengers that passed through the airport in 2010.

Glen Korstrom