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YVR summer passenger traffic remains below pre-pandemic level

Passenger count set to be up about 14 per cent from last year
Many flights have recently been delayed at Vancouver International Airport as NAV Canada grapples with challenges employing enough air traffic controllers

Nearly seven million passengers are expected to travel through Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in July, August and September, according to the Vancouver Airport Authority. 

If the count turns out to be exactly seven million, that would be nearly 14 per cent, or 856,978 more people than in those same three months last year, when 6,143,022 passengers passed through YVR. That increased traffic, combined with issues such as staffing problems at NAV Canada, which is grappling with shortage of air-traffic controllers, could prompt delays. 

It is unclear whether the aviation industry has prepared sufficiently for rising passenger counts and will be able to reliably have flights depart and arrive on time. The good news for travellers is that the number of passengers at airports this summer remains below what it was pre-pandemic. 

At YVR, 7,597,457 passengers passed through the airport in July, August and September 2019. That would be 8.5 per cent more than the seven million passengers expected in those months this year. 

One lingering rationale for why passenger counts in Vancouver are below where they were in 2019 is that the number of weekly non-stop flights between the airport and mainland China is far below what it was pre-pandemic. 

This has led to visitor counts from the entire continent of Asia being down substantially since pre-pandemic. Visitor counts from Asia in April, for example, were down 42.3 per cent from the same month in 2019.

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