These days, a walk through the terminal makes one thing clear—we are very busy. We are so busy, in fact, that we have dubbed this summer period our 101 Busiest Days (a sequel to the 100 Busiest Days in 2015). This is a time where we see up to 75,000 passengers travel through YVR on peak days. It’s also a time where we move a lot of aircraft, host a lot of events and work on many time-sensitive projects—all aimed at providing an exceptional airport experience.
And while it’s impressive to see the action from the perspective of a passenger, I’m always amazed to think of the work that goes on behind the scenes. There is a community of almost 24,000 people who work on Sea Island, ensuring that the airport functions smoothly. And not only do they achieve this challenging task, they also ensure that we constantly improve the airport experience for our passengers and business partners.
At the moment, we are working on a number of initiatives that will improve the airport and foster growth. This includes the creation of a new baggage backbone system, which will connect our terminals through a high-speed, high-tech solution that’s efficient and safe. As much as I’m an airport CEO, I’m also an airport passenger—and I can tell you that I dislike waiting for my bag as much as anyone else. I look forward to having our new baggage system go live soon and seeing how it will be able to move a passenger’s bag to anywhere in the terminal—in well under 30 minutes. This will not only free up time, but will also ensure that our airline partners are able to reliably connect through our airport.
Then there’s the runways and taxiways. Just like you experience increased roadwork around Vancouver during the dry season (doesn’t quite feel that way this summer), we also undertake key maintenance projects during the summer months. Continuing on last summer’s work, we have crews out each night doing a number of key tasks: replacing runway lights with new, efficient LEDs, repaving taxiway surfaces and working on our Runway End Safety Areas (RESAs) on our South runway. The RESAs are specialized areas that add extra length to the end of a runway—increasing safety in the very unlikely event that an aircraft overruns or undershoots.
We’ve also been working hard on plans for our future terminal expansion and I’m glad to say that we now have a winning idea. While I can’t share the details yet, I can tell you that we are very excited about our future airport. Having welcomed a record 20.3 million passengers in 2015 and anticipating about 21.3 in 2016 we are on track for 25 million by 2025—and we have a new airport design to support this. So stay tuned for more details.
The summer period is getting a bit busier every year (stay tuned for “102 busiest days” in 2017), but we are also getting better at moving people, aircraft and bags. Our busy airport is a positive sign, one that supports our vision to be a world-class sustainable connecting hub and local job creator. And this growth is not possible without the continued hard work of our partners, employees and volunteers. I want to thank everyone who works at Sea Island—from our construction teams to our green coat volunteers and retail partners—for making this busy summer another memorable one.