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FAQ

See below for answers to some frequently asked questions about the Airport Improvement Fee

Fast Facts

  • Vancouver Airport Authority is the community-based, not-for-profit organization that manages Vancouver International Airport (YVR). The Airport Authority reinvests all of its profits back into YVR.
  • YVR welcomed a record 25.9 million passengers in 2018, including arriving, departing and connecting travellers.
  • 56 airlines serve YVR, connecting people and businesses to 125 non-stop destinations in Canada, the U.S. and around the world via chartered and regularly scheduled flights.
  • YVR’s operations—together with tourism and cargo—contribute more than $20.2 billion in total economic output, $10.4 billion in total GDP and $1.4 billion in government revenue across B.C. Each new flight through YVR creates hundreds of jobs and contributes millions of dollars in economic benefit to the province.
  • More than 26,500 people come to work on YVR’s Sea Island every day. Additionally, there are more than 126,000 people employed across the province as a result of airport activities.
  • In 2019, YVR was voted the Best Airport in North America by the Skytrax World Airport Awards, which are based on an independent survey of more than 13.5 million passengers from more than 100 countries. YVR is the only airport to have ever received this honour for 10 consecutive years.

Frequently Asked Question?

How much has YVR collected from the Airport Improvement Fee (AIF)?

  • Since its inception in 1993 until the end of 2018, YVR has collected $2.2 billion in the AIF.
  • The Airport Authority tracks and publicly reports all financial information (including the AIF) each year in our Annual Report and at our Annual Public Meetings. This information is available here. 

What is the purpose of the AIF?

  • The AIF is collected to support capital infrastructure projects like runways and terminals to ensure we have a safe and efficient airport.
  • YVR receives no government funding to operate the airport. We earn revenue from three main sources: aeronautical revenue (25%), non-aeronautical revenue (44%) and the AIF (31%). 
  • The AIF is necessary as revenue generated from aeronautical sources and non-aeronautical sources is not sufficient to cover both the costs of operating the airport and major capital projects to enhance and maintain it.

Is the AIF charged to all passengers?

  • The AIF is collected from outbound passengers only, for flights originating from YVR. Current charges are $20 for all destinations outside of B.C. and the Yukon. YVR is proud to be one of only two Canadian airports to maintain a heavily discounted AIF for regional travel at $5 for all destinations in B.C. and the Yukon. Effective January 1, 2020, the AIF will increase to $25 for all destinations outside of B.C. and the Yukon. The discounted rate for regional travel will remain unchanged.

When was the AIF last increased?

  •  The AIF was last increased on May 1, 2012.

Why is YVR increasing the AIF?

  • Since its inception in 1993, YVR has collected $2.2 billion from the AIF. During that same timeframe, we have spent $3.7 billion on capital projects.  
  • We are spending more than we are collecting and we use cash flow and debt to make up that difference of $1.5 billion.
  • Given YVR’s record growth, and the ambitious multi-year expansion plans underway to meet our growing passenger demand, we are in need of additional funding for these projects.
  • YVR is currently underway with a multibillion-dollar expansion program that will see up to 75 major projects over the next 20 years.

What is the increase and when will it take effect?

  • To meet future growth and to ensure the health of the airport for future generations, YVR will be increasing its AIF on January 1, 2020, from $20 to $25 for passengers travelling to destinations outside of B.C. 
  • Passengers travelling within B.C. and to the Yukon will continue to pay $5.
  • Airlines will start charging the new rate on December 12, 2019 for travel from January 1, 2020 onward.

The AIF was once described as a temporary improvement fee. Who decided that this would no longer be the case? And why?

  • The AIF is not temporary. It is a vital part of YVR’s business model and our ability to deliver on our public interest mandate, which is to provide social and economic benefits to our communities.
  • Based on long-term financial modelling, the Executive Team recommended an increase which was endorsed by the Board of Directors.
  • This decision is the right one. It will ensure strong and sustainable financial health for YVR’s future executives and boards of directors. 

Why don’t other countries need an AIF? Is AIF unique to Canada’s airport model?

  • The collection of a user-fee is common within the aviation industry and can be seen around the world in various forms—often at substantially higher rates. For example:
  • Australia’s Passenger Movement Charge is a flat rate of A$60 ($49 CAD) for all passengers leaving Australia. 
  • In the UK, passengers pay an Air Passenger Duty based on the distance they travel and their seat class. This ranges from about $21 CAD for economy class short -haul flights to approximately $120 CAD for long-haul economy flights and nearly $250 CAD for all other classes. 

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