Reducing Emissions

The Airport Authority works with our employees, business partners and communities to minimize vehicle, building and aircraft emissions. We do this by promoting alternative forms of transportation to and from Sea Island, improving airport infrastructure and raising awareness of clean air practices.


Published every five years, emissions inventories indicate how air pollutant emissions are changing in the Lower Fraser Valley. The 2010 Lower Fraser Valley Air Emissions Inventory, published in 2013, found that aircraft emissions account for about 1.3 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions and 2.1 per cent of smog-forming pollutants in the Lower Fraser Valley air shed.

We completed our own emissions inventory for the 2007 and 2012 calendar years to systematically approach emissions reduction and establish targets. In 2012, greenhouse gas emissions from the Airport Authority and our partners totaled 317,460 tonnes CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent). Aircraft accounted for 72 per cent of these emissions. Airport Authority-owned and controlled operations, including heating sources, electrical consumption and vehicle operations, accounted for 3 per cent of total emissions, totalling 9,782 tonnes in 2012, down from 2007 levels of 11,632 tonnes.

As laid out in our renewed Environmental Management Plan, we will endeavour to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 33 per cent by 2020 and will do this by working closely with our partners to establish reduction targets.


The Airport Authority tracks pollutants as part of the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI), an inventory of annual releases to air, water, land and disposal or recycling from all sectors. We submitted a report to the NPRI in 2014 for the emissions period of 2013 and found that we had four substances that were below the reporting thresholds—Carbon Monoxide, Sulphur Dioxide, Oxides of Nitrogen and Volatile Organic Compounds. We also had substances that were slightly above the reporting thresholds: Asbestos disposal from the demolition of older structures, particulate matter from boilers, emergency generators and road dust. We will continue to collect this data and will reduce these substances through future initiatives and programs.


The Airport Authority is a voluntary partner in the Lower Fraser Valley Air Quality Monitoring Network. Metro Vancouver operates a continuous air quality monitoring station located at YVR east of the south runway, near the community of Burkeville. Data collected from this station is displayed on a live-stream through Metro Vancouver’s website.


As part of our commitment to sustainable transportation, we invested $300 million in the Sea Island portion of the Canada Line rapid transit system, which began operations in August 2009. In 2014, approximately 2.37 million passengers used the Canada Line to travel to and from YVR; this represents an increase of 21 per cent from 2013. Public usage among departing passengers also increased, from 15 per cent in 2013 to 18 per cent in 2014. Travel between the three stations on Sea Island remains free.


In 2014, the Airport Authority recorded over 349 charges from two electric vehicle charging stations, installed in 2013 and located on Level 1 of the parkade. We also installed two charging stations at the new Aylmer Road office building, which will be operational in 2015.


To avoid having vehicles idling at the curb, the Airport Authority opened a cell phone waiting lot in 2014. The new lot offers drivers complimentary parking for 30 minutes while waiting for arriving travellers.


To improve safety for cyclists and promote green transportation, we widened the shoulders on the Arthur Laing Bridge for a bicycle lane and adjusted several catch basins on the bridge structure to be flush with the pavement surface.


The Green Commuter Program encourages Airport Authority employees to use alternative forms of transportation to get to and from work, offering a $50 per month financial incentive to take public transit, bicycle, walk or carpool. In 2014, the program had 156 participants, or 37 per cent of Airport Authority employees, slightly down from 2013. This collective effort reduced the amount of single-occupant vehicle trips to Sea Island by approximately 900,000 kilometres and reduced carbon emissions by approximately 155,000 kilograms. 


There are many pieces of unique equipment required to operate an airport, ranging from transit buses, heavy duty applications such as fire trucks and grass mowers, to light duty on-road vehicles. The Airport Authority continues to improve its fleet by replacing older, larger vehicles with appropriately-sized, fuel efficient models. In 2014, five light-duty vehicles and two off-road vehicles were added to the fleet. In addition, one firetruck, eight light-duty vehicles and five off-road vehicles were retired.

We developed a new Fleet Plan to guide our purchase decisions moving forward. In order to support this new plan, we analysed the performance of our fleet by participating in the E3 Gear Up Program and undertook an electric vehicle suitability assessment of select vehicles.


In addition to ensuring that taxis serving our customers are barrier free and wheelchair accessible, the Airport Authority offers a significant annual discount on licensing fees to taxi operators with low-emissions vehicles. In 2014, hybrid-electric taxis accounted for 397 (76 per cent) of 525 taxis serving YVR.

Looking for more information about our Environmental performance in 2014?

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