Creating a Connecting Hub
In 2015, we continued work on key initiatives that will ensure we remain a world-class, sustainable connecting hub.
For more than 20 years, YVR has worked with its partners to progressively expand visa-free transit between Asia and the Americas, making new routes commercially viable while contributing to BC’s economy. In 2015, the Government of Canada announced the addition of five Chinese cities—Xiamen, Fuzhou, Chengdu, Shenyang and Harbin—to the list of approved cities under the China Transit Program, which allows Chinese nationals to travel through YVR en route to the US without requiring a Canadian visa. We will continue to work towards expanding this program and other visa-free initiatives in 2016.
INTEGRATED MARKETING STRATEGY
In June, YVR introduced a new Integrated Marketing Strategy that seeks to combine the efforts of our Air Service Development, Government Relations, Marketing, Communications, Community Relations and other Airport Authority teams in pursuit of our goal of reaching 25 million passengers by 2020. Under the new strategy, we take a Team YVR approach—working closely with tourism bodies, business organizations, industry associations and government trade offices to leverage opportunities and strengthen relationships. We put this approach into action for several air service announcements in 2015 including Aeromexico’s introduction to the market, which aligned our partners’ support for the company’s new service.
YVR works closely with businesses to provide markets with products while identifying opportunities for growth. We recently set up a new company, Vancouver Airport Property Management, to redevelop and manage our cargo and building facilities, while working with industry to meet their service and facility needs. And in 2015 we entered into a partnership with Shanghai-Pudong airport to study the perishable supply chain. This arrangement will help improve YVR’s cargo business and further share BC’s products with the world. In 2015, YVR handled over 271,000 metric tonnes of cargo—a 5.8 per cent increase over 2014.
THE PERISHABLE SUPPLY CHAIN
Did you know that YVR is a key export hub for BC goods? From YVR, BC businesses export local products including fresh fruit and seafood to key markets around the world. A local company we work with takes Matsutake mushrooms, brought in from Northern BC in the morning, and sends them off to Japan in the afternoon. Another company takes cherries fresh from BC farms and ships them to China—in less than 24 hours.
We made great progress towards becoming a perceptive airport in 2015. As the name implies, a perceptive airport anticipates customers’ needs and wants by utilizing user-provided data throughout their entire airport experience. In 2015, we made ongoing investment to make it easier to connect to YVR’s WiFi and always stay connected. Customers enjoy some of the fastest connection speeds provided by any airport for free.
In the fall of 2015, we launched our new YVR app. Featuring 3D maps of the airport and information on services and flight information, the app allows users to build a detailed itinerary for their journey through YVR, find retail coupons, play games, view 3D terminal maps and more.
2015 also marked the planning and building of YVR’s website upgrade. Launched in March 2016, the new website includes realtime flight searches, enhanced accessibility features, improved terminal maps and a mobile-optimized design. YVR’s new website is available fully translated in English, French and Chinese.
To ensure YVR remains an airport of choice for our partners, we finalized a new five year rates and charges program called ConnectYVR. This program provides a highly competitive and equitable rate structure designed to incent airline growth and efficiency. The program includes rates lower than any other major airport in Canada and our competing US airports, further increasing our competitive advantage.
INTERNATIONAL TO DOMESTIC TRANSFER FACILITY
During 2015, work continued on the International to Domestic Transfer Process (ITD), which allows passengers to connect from international to domestic flights without retrieving their baggage. After conducting several trials and signing a memorandum of understanding with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in 2014, Air Canada went into daily ITD operation with its London Heathrow flight. In early 2015, WestJet added its SNA (John Wayne Airport) to YVR flights and in the summer we added ITD-specific features including specialized software, a dedicated primary inspection area and automated baggage recall to the program. Future plans include adding a secure inspection area for ITD baggage and continued work with CBSA and our airline partners to add more flights, all designed to improve the experience for our passengers. We sincerely appreciate the support and openness to innovation found in our partners at CBSA as we work together to make connecting through YVR easier and faster for all customers.