The Vancouver International Airport announced Thursday it’s increasing the airport improvement fee.
The charge, included in the taxes on each departing ticket, will rise from $20 to $25 for passengers travelling outside of the province, effective Dec. 12 for travel from Jan. 1, 2020 onward.
Passengers travelling within B.C. and to the Yukon will continue to pay the discounted rate of $5.
Craig Richmond, president and CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority, said the increase might not be popular, but it’s “absolutely necessary” for the airport’s long-term financial health.
“When we looked out at our capital asset requirements, our debt load and interest coverage ratio, our anticipated passenger traffic and thus aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenue, we determined an increase is necessary to ensure the long-term financial health of the airport,” Richmond said, making the announcement in an address to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.
According to a news release, YVR earns revenue from three main sources: aeronautical revenue (25 per cent), non-aeronautical revenue (44 per cent) and the airport improvement fee (31 per cent), as of 2018.
“If we took away the [fee], YVR wouldn’t be able to keep up,” Richmond said. “We wouldn’t be able to make sound decisions that have the success of future generations in mind or meet regulatory requirements.”
Infrastructure would wear down, the passenger experience would decline and people would choose other airports for connections, he said.
The fee will still be one of the lowest among the eight major Canadian airports, with only the Ottawa International Airport collecting a lower fee of $23.
|Screenshot from Vancouver Airport Authority backgrounder.|
The fee was first introduced in 1993 and can only be used to pay for capital infrastructure projects, such as terminals and runways. In 2012, it went up from $15 to $20.
YVR has collected $2.2 billion from it and spent $3.7 billion on capital projects since its inception.