By Gabriel Shepherd 11/29/2020 1971 views

In 1996, Vancouver International Airport (ICAO CYVR, IATA YVR) was one of the fastest growing airports on the North American Continent, and this statement was true up until March of 2020. For the past twenty six years, Vancouver's main airport has been undergoing a multi-year expansion project. The project as a whole was set to cost a whopping $9.1 billion, including the expansion of Pier D, the northwest wing of the International Terminal as well as additional gates for widebody jets such as the Airbus A380 among other items. However, due to implications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, YVR has elected to terminate the project. 


The British Airways Airbus A380 --  A frequent visitor to YVR in the summer months, pre-Coronavirus. Credit: TheExplorerBlog | Daniel Mena


The project was set to be completed this year, with the last stage of it being the upgrade to YVR's Pier D. Additionally, eight new widebody gates were planned to be implemented which would have the ability to accommodate aircraft as large as the Airbus A380. Four of these eight gates were planned to be jet-bridges connected to the expansion of Pier D and ten remote stands, four for widebody aircraft. The remote stands, which are finished construction, are located about 300 meters, 330 yards from Pier E. These will be serviced by new eCobuses, giving a travel time from the main terminal to the remote stand of about 4 to 5 minutes once the remote stands are put into service.


The project had been paused from close to the start of COVID, and in August there was talk of resuming the project. However, in September airport officials give the news that the project was cancelled.


Officials say that instead, the airport will reallocate the money, $600 million for the current stage of the project, to other more pressing matters involving infrastructure updates, as well as passenger health and safety. This decision to terminate the project came amidst significantly lowered traveler numbers through Vancouver Airport. In 2019, the airport saw over 2.6 million travelers in the month of July alone. However, in July of this year, that number was just over 325,000. In the month of April, the airport only saw a mere 68,700 check-ins.


Money from the cancellation of this project has been used towards projects such as the new joint study with Vancouver International Airport and Westjet on Covid-19 rapid testing. As of Friday, November 27, passengers on select Westjet flights will have the option to opt in on these rapid tests which are said to provide results in 15 to 20 minutes.


high-angle view of city
The YVR International terminal, Pier D at the very top right corner. Photo by Tomas Williams -- Unsplash


Heading in to the new year with talk of a possible vaccine, there has been speculation on YVR undertaking a smaller project to tie up loose ends, but nothing has been officially released from the YVR Airport Authority.

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