The end of April brings with it a big deadline for the YVR team: publishing our Annual and Sustainability Report. I'm pleased to let you know that the 2013 report is now available online. Now onto the next deliverable: the Airport Authority's Annual Public Meeting. Scheduled for Thursday, May 8, this meeting is an opportunity to catch up on the year that was 2013 at YVR.
The Airport Authority team will present the highlights, milestones and challenges of 2013, including everything from air service announcements and terminal upgrades to our incredible community engagement efforts and significant award wins across all areas of the business. We will also provide a look at upcoming projects, including the Designer Outlet Centre, A/B Pier construction and a hands-on demo of our Automated Passport Control kiosks. I'm really looking foward to my first annual meeting in my new(ish) role, and I hope you can join us there. More event details are available in Latest Information. If you can't make it in person, the meeting will also be streamed live online. In the meantime, here is my letter from the 2013 Annual and Sustainability Report.
It was with great delight and a tremendous sense of responsibility that I returned to Vancouver International Airport as President & CEO in July 2013. I joined an airport in terrific shape, and I would like to acknowledge my predecessor, boss and mentor for many years, Larry Berg.
Larry deftly managed the incredible balancing act that is YVR for a decade and a half, bringing us through both tough times like recessions and uplifting moments like the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. He laid a solid financial foundation for the company, developed relationships with allies and friends across the province and the world, and made a lot of difficult but far-reaching decisions that turned YVR into one of the best airports in the world. Thank you, Larry.
After time spent at airports in other countries, my return required an intensive immersion into the complex and interconnected workings of Canada’s second-busiest airport and North America’s gateway to Asia. When I took on the leadership of YVR, I went back to study the original purpose for this company. In simple terms, we are a community-based, entrepreneurial organization whose profits are directed back into the airport, and our mandate is to provide safe, efficient air services - but you have heard all of this before.
What I think is most exciting is the reason for this mission: to provide jobs and economic opportunity for the people of Richmond, Vancouver and the entire province. We do this by providing direct jobs here at YVR, and enabling many businesses beyond the airport to thrive as they in turn provide services to airlines, hotels and innumerable other enterprises involved in commercial air travel.
When we report that we welcomed a record 17.97 million passengers in 2013, think for a moment about the job creation and economic activity represented by that number. China Eastern Airlines, for instance, added a second daily flight between YVR and Guangzhou last summer, creating at least 450 new direct local jobs and boosting our weekly number of flights to China to 75. And even as we handled record passenger numbers, we also earned our best-ever customer ratings, with 91 percent of those surveyed pleased with their YVR experience.
Within the terminal, work continued on our ambitious 10-year, $1.8 billion plan to upgrade our connection facilities, including hundreds of metres of moving walkways and high-speed baggage systems, to help passengers and their bags connect through YVR in less than an hour. And in keeping with our self-funding business model, we also achieved milestones in two major non-aeronautical revenue-generating projects: the very successful sale of YVR’s BorderXpress Automated Passport Control kiosks to airports in the U.S., and the start of construction on the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport, a luxury outlet shopping centre that will open on Sea Island in 2015.
I am proud to count myself amongst the 23,600 employees who get to come to work at YVR, ranked by Skytrax in 2013 as North America’s best airport for the fifth year in a row. This is a tremendous honour, and one that is about much more than YVR’s iconic art and architecture. It encompasses our commitment to customer care, safe and efficient operations and our award-winning shopping and dining. But most importantly, it is a powerful testament to the airport community’s best efforts each day to share the magic of YVR with every passenger, making their journeys easy, pleasant and safe. Guided by our history and our values, I promise that we will continue to strive for excellence by providing connections that work, by building global routes, creating local jobs, contributing to the economy and investing in our community.
It's great to be back!
President & CEO
Vancouver Airport Authority