Nearly four weeks after the Canadian government removed all COVID-19 travel restrictions, passenger traffic at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) remains below where it was at this time in 2019, according to the Vancouver Airport Authority (VAA).
The VAA expects 382,950 passengers in the week ended October 30. That is down 8.5 per cent from the 418,385 travellers who either boarded or disembarked flights at the airport in the same week in 2019, according to VAA data. The good news is that traffic at the airport is up 76.1 per cent from the 217,442 passengers who either boarded or disembarked flights at the airport in the same week one year ago.
Back in October 2021, the Canadian land border with the U.S. was closed to non-essential traffic and there was no cruise ship traffic. That left air travel as the only way for people vaccinated against COVID-19 to leave the country.
The Canada-U.S. land border had closed in March 2020 to prevent the spread of the SARS-C0V-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. It then re-opened to non-essential travel by vaccinated people on Nov. 8, 2021.
Further travel-restriction loosening happened at the start of this month, when Canada again allowed unvaccinated people to enter the country. Canada also ended its requirement that travellers wear masks on planes, trains and buses, making it more comfortable to travel. Random COVID-19 testing at airports ceased, minimizing inconvenience for tourists. Canada also made using its ArriveCan app voluntary, which was good news to those who found the app cumbersome.
October is a shoulder-season month at YVR, as it was the fourth slowest month at the airport in 2019, with 2,064,711 passengers who either boarded or disembarked planes. That total was higher than November, January and February three years ago.