Seven is known as a lucky number in North American culture, but I can say with full confidence that there is absolutely nothing lucky about YVR recently winning Best Airport in North America for a record-breaking seventh year in a row at the Skytrax World Airport Awards. An accolade like this can only be attributed to the hard work and dedication from not just the 23,000+ people who work on Sea Island, but also our myriad business partners and the greater YVR community.
In sports, a dynasty is usually defined as a team that wins three, four or five championships in a row. Seven in a row is almost unprecedented. In fact, only one franchise in the modern era has ever bested YVR’s current run of first place finishes. Not the dominant Canadiens teams from the 50s (when there was only six teams), or those vaunted Yankees teams of the mid-century, but the Celtics of the 60s who rattled off eight straight NBA championships! Something all of those teams shared, and two of our core values here at YVR, are teamwork and accountability.
Without teamwork, without everybody working towards a common goal, success just isn’t possible. This is why you’ll often see baggage handlers stopping and helping passengers with wayfinding, airline reps picking up detritus off the terminal floor and our army of Green Coat volunteers ready to go beyond, every day to do whatever it takes to make your airport experience memorable for all the right reasons. And don’t forget the people behind the scenes. The first responders and border officials who keep the airport secure, the controllers who help guide the planes down safely and the thousands of other individuals who work out of the public eye, contributing to this massive economic generator that connects B.C. proudly to the world. I thank them all for their contributions towards our record-breaking seventh straight Skytrax award.
Despite this unprecedented run of success, there’s still plenty of room for YVR to improve. By reaching 20.3 million passengers in 2015 we moved up a weight class to the 20-30 million category, where we finished behind Zurich and Kansai airports. We also placed 14th in the world. We want to be the best in the world and to that end you’ll start to see major strides made in sustainability, new expansion plans for upgraded terminals coming forth and even more airlines and destinations being added to help us reach our audacious goal of 25 million passengers by 2020. However, I’d like everyone to remember that it is every single interaction with every single person, be they passenger or teammate that counts – it is ever more critical as we grow.
Skytrax is the industry standard, but we also recently hit pay dirt at the Airport Revenue News awards for our design and customer service offerings and we laid ‘waste’ to the competition at the ACI North America Awards with our Waste Wars program (link to story). These accolades are reminders that our efforts aren’t unnoticed and serve as motivation to keep raising the bar and representing on the world stage. They also remind us that there are airports out there who want to see us falter and inspire us to continue striving for greatness. Next year, we hope to hit eight. Watch out Celtics—we’re coming for you!