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President's Perspective: May 2013

One of the ways that the Airport Authority delivers on its promise to be open and accountable to our stakeholders is by hosting an Annual Public Meeting. This year’s event happened to be my fifteenth – and last – meeting.   On the afternoon of Thursday, May 9, airport business partners, employees, members of the media and the travelling public gathered in the East Concourse to get an update on the Airport Authority’s business activities and milestones in 2012 as documented in the 2012 Annual and Sustainability Report.  Below, my letter from this year’s report.

New partners, new facilities and a new strategy for building a better airport made 2012 a busy and memorable year for Vancouver Airport Authority.

To set the stage for the coming decade, we announced in January a 10-year, $1.8-billion strategy designed to keep Vancouver International Airport competitive and a key economic generator for British Columbia.  Faced with increasing competition from other airports, we identified a number of projects that will make it faster and easier for passengers and bags to move through the airport. Work on these projects, which include a new high-speed baggage system, more moving walkways, expansion of parts of the original Domestic Terminal Building and runway safety enhancements, began this year.

Several important additions to air service in 2012 offered more options to YVR passengers looking to connect to Asia and Europe for business and leisure. Sichuan Airlines chose YVR as its first entry point into North America from China’s interior, resulting in more flight options for travellers and more local jobs. We also welcomed Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways – and his unique brand of service – to YVR.  Flights between our airport and London Heathrow Airport conveyed thousands of passengers across the Atlantic last summer, and will do so again this coming summer. 

Other new partners joined the YVR team in 2012, including World Duty Free, which made YVR its first North America airport location, opening with great fanfare in September. Our concession program is regularly recognized by passengers and the industry as one of best in the world – giving us a competitive advantage in the airport business.

The Airport Authority garnered a number of notable awards in 2012. For the third year running, YVR was named best airport in North America by the prestigious Skytrax World Airport Awards.  And the commitment to safety and security that underscores all that we do was recognized by Transport Canada with its assessment of our Safety Management System, earning us one of the highest airport safety scores.  From an environmental perspective, the Airport Authority also received accolades for Canada’s first-ever Ground Run-up Enclosure, which opened on the airport’s south side in January to help reduce aircraft noise in our community.

This year also marked a personal and professional milestone for me; in October, I announced my retirement as President and CEO of the Airport Authority.  It has been an honour to have been a part of this organization over the past two decades. Seeing the airport evolve - 20 years ago last July - from a federally-run entity to a community-based organization focused on the passenger experience has been very gratifying. I offer my sincerest thanks to the 23,600 people who work at YVR, the some 500 Green Coat volunteers who provide assistance every day, and the more than 17 million passengers who chose to travel through YVR this year. I look forward to welcoming a new leader in 2013, and watching with pride as YVR continues to make its community proud.

 

Larry Berg

President and CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority

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