What a year 2015 was. When I look back, it’s hard to believe all the announcements, events and activities we managed to pile into twelve months. From the opening of the new domestic terminal expansion in January to the opening of the Designer Outlet Centre in the summer and the exciting arrival of our new partner Aeromexico in December, we definitely delivered.
YVR strives to be more than just an airport: we are a community contributor, a world-class sustainable connecting hub and a proud celebration of British Columbia. And we don’t just apply these labels and hope they stick. We work hard to improve the airport and provide economic and social benefits for our communities. We communicate this to you through our events, editorial pieces and, perhaps most notably, through our awards.
While I patiently wait to hear if YVR will yet again make history with Skytrax (ahem, you can vote here by the way), I would like to take you through some of our accolades in 2015 and what they mean for you. So, in no particular order, except the first one . . .
Safety is our number one priority. This is why I was absolutely thrilled to hear that YVR was recently awarded Canada’s Best Health and Safety Culture award and the Gold award in the Transportation category of Canada’s Safety Employers. We have a commitment to our passengers, partners and communities to operate a safe and secure airport. Every day, we adhere to the strictest safety standards. We do this by constantly testing our safety protocols and preparedness plans, identifying terminal improvements and ensuring our people and our customers are taken care of. This award is testament to that detail and hard work, which we will continue to deliver.
If you work at YVR or know someone who does, chances are you’ve heard them reiterate one of our core values that I love to hammer home: innovation. Innovation is what sets us apart. It’s the competitive spirit and can-do attitude that ensures we will never fall behind, but will constantly jump ahead and think of better ways of doing business. For instance, you’ve probably used the automated passport kiosks at YVR. This is our BorderXpress product—an innovative automated kiosk that reduces wait times in immigration for everyone. We have now sold over 750 of these kiosks to 25 airports in Canada, the US and the Caribbean—and we’re getting some serious attention. In 2015, our BorderXpress products received the CAPA Centre for Aviation’s Best Airport Innovation in the World award. And soon we will unveil our exciting new GBX version, featuring facial recognition technology.
Do you remember the launch of the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Centre in the summer? It was the most successful McArthurGlen opening ever, bringing in over 160,000 shoppers in the first weekend alone. This amazing destination is BC’s first luxury shopping centre. It’s also a valuable source of non-aeronautical revenue, which helps keep costs low for YVR and allows us to put more focus on building a great airport. The centre is McArthurGlen’s first outlet outside of Europe. Inside Europe, it was recognized at the 2015 MAPIC awards in Cannes, where it won the Best New Outlet Centre in the World.
And of course there’s the YVR team—a dedicated group of hardworking professionals who love their jobs. In 2015, we were able to recognize a few of these professionals. Our very own Gerry Bruno received the BC Aviation Council Robert S Day award in recognition of outstanding leadership for the promotion and development of aviation in British Columbia. And Business in Vancouver and the Chartered Professional Accountants of BC recognized Glenn McCoy, our Senior VP, Strategy & CFO, as the 2015 CFO of the Year. To top it off, we received the Dream Employer of BC award at the 2nd annual Dream Employer Awards reception hosted by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
Our team deserves these awards—and so do you. You deserve an award-winning airport that goes beyond, every day. We will continue to work towards bigger and better goals in 2016, while letting you know how we are doing.
I forgot one award. In 2015 we were awarded the annual Skytrax Award for Best Airport in North America for a historic six years in a row, as voted by over 13 million passengers worldwide. We also received Best Airport in the World for our size category of 10-20 million passengers. Well, now that we’ve gone past 20 million it looks like we won’t get that last award again – we’re in a whole new weight class. I guess you can’t win them all.