Vancouver International Airport will increase its airport improvement fee (AIF) from $20 to $25 effective Jan. 1, 2020, as the facility continues to grow and expand in the coming years.
News of the increased fee, which will apply for passengers travelling to destinations outside of B.C., was announced last week by YVR President & CEO Craig Richmond, during an address to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. The airport states that despite the pending increase, YVR’s AIF will continue to be one of the lowest among the eight major Canadian airports with only Ottawa International Airport collecting a lower fee of $23.
Additionally, YVR is the only major airport to offer a heavily discounted rate for regional travel at $5 for flights within B.C. and to the Yukon.
“We recognize this might not be a popular decision with the public, but the increase to the AIF is absolutely necessary for the long-term financial health of the airport and the benefit of our community,” Richmond said during the address. “It is our responsibility to be stewards of this airport and ensure that in 20 years we see a thriving airport, still making good on our public mandate—and that we have not tied the hands of future boards that would have to make drastic decisions on cutting back on construction or changing the level of service.”
“If we took away the AIF, YVR wouldn’t be able to keep up. We wouldn’t be able to make sound decisions that have the success of future generations in mind or meet regulatory requirements. Our infrastructure would wear down, the passenger experience would decline, people would choose other airports for connections and we would not be able to deliver on our public mandate to provide economic and social benefits to our communities.”
Why is there a fee?
YVR earns revenue from three main sources: aeronautical revenue (25 per cent), non-aeronautical revenue (44 per cent) and the AIF (31 per cent), as of 2018. First introduced in 1993, the AIF can only be used to pay for capital infrastructure projects such as terminals and runways.
The Canadian government does not provide funding to operate YVR and revenue generated from aeronautical and non-aeronautical sources is not enough to cover both the costs of operating the airport and the major capital projects needed to enhance and maintain it.
YVR has collected $2.2 billion from the AIF since its inception in 1993 and has spent $3.7 billion on capital projects during that same timeframe.
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