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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Alberta & British Columbia > SSP: Local Vancouver > Transportation & Infrastructure

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  #1  
Old Posted Jun 1, 2009, 11:16 PM
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Abbotsford destined to be major transportation player

Abbotsford destined to be major transportation player

Chicago has more than one. So do Los Angeles, New York and many other great American and European cities.

I'm talking about international airports. Shouldn't Metro Vancouver, the economic hub of British Columbia, Canada's gateway to the Pacific, have a second airport, too?

Well, we actually already do. You probably just haven't thought about it. It's the Abbotsford International Airport.

If you laugh, it's because you aren't looking at where we live from what one might call the Google Earth view -- the ability to look at your neighbourhood close up and then zoom out and see things from greater heights and a future-looking perspective. Don't feel bad if you don't get the Google Earth concept; neither do most of our politicians and planners.

First, consider the remarkable business success behind Abbotsford International -- YXX on your boarding pass. A dozen years ago, the sleepy city of farms and acreages on the edge of Metro Vancouver bought the airport from the federal government for $10. Nobody thought much about its chances.

But over the next dozen years the Abbotsford Airport Authority invested millions in a new terminal, better parking and longer runways to land bigger jets. In 2006, Abbotsford International surpassed 500,000 annual passengers. It plans to have at least two million passengers go through its gates within 25 years and there's also an excellent chance in the next few years YXX will become a hub for continental and international air cargo operations.

Now, Abbotsford isn't going to knock off Vancouver International anytime soon. The latter pushed 17 million passengers through its gates in 2008. YVR will be the region's primary gateway for generations.

But Abbotsford is destined to be a significant player. It's already a regional hub for WestJet, with flights to Edmonton, Toronto and Calgary. Executive jets will use it during the Olympics. And charter operators see it as a base for flights south of the border -- perhaps even across the Pacific.

George Peary, Abbotsford's mayor, predicts there will soon be direct flights to India and China. "We had an operator who was looking at a direct flight from Amritsar to Abbotsford," he says. "Then the economy took a hit. But we do see flights to India and China as very possible."

While it's clearly a business success story, the rise of a second airport says something else, too. It's a challenge to the myopic and territorial approach our planners and mayors tend to take when viewing our West Coast metropolis. This is not an ad hominem attack. It's borne out by some key facts.

Statistics show the City of Vancouver will grow from a population of 607,000 to 709,000 by 2031. That's a modest 17-per-cent increase. Abbotsford, Coquitlam, Langley Township and Surrey now have a population of about 770,000. They are projected to reach 1.29 million people by 2031, a 67-per-cent boost in population. Translation: the real growth is south of the Fraser River and Abbotsford is destined to be an aviation and ground transportation hub.

Yet despite its major airport, booming population and increasing integration into the rest of our urban metropolis, Abbotsford has too limited a voice. Within Metro Vancouver, the agency that is supposed to take the bird's eye view on the Lower Mainland's development, the fifth largest community in the region is still only given an official voice in running Metro Vancouver's parks.

Even more illogical is that Abbotsford is not meshed into TransLink, the provincial agency supplying and planning much of the public transit to the Lower Mainland.

What we have here is urban myopia. What we need is more people with a Google Earth account.

http://www.vancouversun.com/Technolo...630/story.html
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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2009, 3:32 AM
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Not really sure what he's getting at here, other than advertising once more than he's scanned through the region's projected growth rates, and is selectively quoting them. The arguement appears to in part involve the fact that Abbotsford-Langley-Surrey will have a lot more people than Vancouver, so their airport should grow. And yet... these aren't the only four municipalities in the region. Which airport does he think people in Buraby, New West, Coquitlam, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Delta, Richmond etc will use? Hell, even Whalley (Surrey's planned growth concentration area) is closer to YVR than to YXX (I looked it up on Google ).

He also neglects to mention that YVR will, by 2027, will handle somewhere between 26.9 to 40.5 million passengers/year (source: http://www.yvr.ca/yourairport2027/pd...masterplan.pdf)

Who exactly are the planners/politicians that aren't using the "Google Earth View" with regard to Abbotsford airport, and what specific actions has that led to that he finds detrimental to the region? He tosses this out as a bit of populism, but doesnt really expand on it in any way that would render it a useful statement.

YXX should certainly grow as market demands, but there's no need to turn it into Vancouver's Mirabel.

As for Translink, that's certainly being looked at:
http://www.vancouversun.com/story_pr...56969&sponsor=
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  #3  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2009, 3:46 AM
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Agreed with above. Abbotsford's airport has a great future as a regional airport (serving Fraser Valley connections to the Island, Okanagan, Calgary and Toronto), but that's it. And I don't see any international flights outside of Cascadia.
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  #4  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2009, 4:26 AM
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forget abbys airport
go delta!=P
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  #5  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2009, 4:33 AM
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When I read that this morning, I felt like there was a little too much sparkle and false optimism.

Sure, we'll be a great regional airport, but I just cannot see us being a big international player.

And considering transportation in Abbotsford sucks balls except for our airport, I actually laughed when I read the article title.

Who knows? Maybe we are destined, but things sure don't look that way now.
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  #6  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2009, 4:36 AM
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it's not that I have anything against YXX, but the fact is we should be focusing on building up more and more flights out of YVR, as it is the main hub... the reason LA has so many airport is that the metro population is over 10 million, and the smaller airports don't do international traffic really. YVR isn't close to capacity, and is looking to increase capacity, therefore, why should we support Abbotsford to grow?? The more airlines that fly out of there, the less they will out of YVR (if Westjet couldn't fly in YXX, they would definitely increase their YVR service. Right now, YXX is competition domestically). Once YVR gets to 30 million pax or more, then maybe we can talk about expanding YXX. For now, we should focus on building up our main airport, not diverting traffic to the valley...
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  #7  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2009, 8:25 AM
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I don't see it as diverting traffic to the Valley. I see it as an option to traveling out of YVR. From Surrey, YXX is about the same distance from YVR and YXX, depending on where in Surrey you are. The difference is that once you hit the #1, you can be at YXX in 25 minutes.

I can definitely see flights to India from Abbotsford. With the growing Korean population one to Seoul, too.

I'm not a fan of the HUB system. If I'm going to Disneyland, I don't want to go to LAX, I want to go to Ontario Airport.

If I'm going to Edinburgh, I don't want to have to fly to Glasgow. Airports with smaller planes and full flights serving people where people live.

I see a few possibilities for YXX:
Low cost airlines (similar to Bellingham and Allegiant)
Seasonal Charters (Hawaii, Europe)
A few select Special Destinations (India, Korea)

I don't see why we have to grow YVR for the sake of growing it. I'm fine with it growing slower while Abbotsford takes on more flights.

Also, the Mirabel comment make no sense.

Mirabel airport was supposed to be the MAIN airport, not a secondary one. Dorval was planned to be closed down. Mirabel also didn't serve any population. It was supposed to serve Montreal. YXX serves local population (realistically, those south of the Fraser River) as well as serving as a possible secondary airport for Metro Vancouver. It's nothing like Mirabel.
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  #8  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2009, 10:48 AM
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I have actually used YXX several times before, i hope it does grow, and it already services international flights to Mexico. People here who think it should only service domestic flights do have their heads up their bums a little. Of course this airport will never rival YVR, but in a growing region as ours it is good to have a #2 airport that services many domestic and some international (such as to Mexico, the United States, and India, given Abbotsford's large Indian population) flights.

I know when living in Maple Ridge YXX is often a faster and more convenient commute (current trip from Maple Ridge to YVR is Lougheed, Mary Hill Bypass, #1, Columbia through New West, 91, 99, airport (or continue down slow Marine after New West)) Of course that just shows how terrible our road system is as well.

The new Golden Ears Bridge will make YXX even more convenient for Maple Ridge.

When you consider Chilliwack, Mission, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Abbotsford, eastern Surrey and Langely, that is at least 400 000 (maybe 500 000) people that YXX is situated geographically to service better than YVR.
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  #9  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2009, 3:35 PM
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India? Korea? You guys are dreaming. Maybe in 20 or 30 years, but when airlines are having difficulties making these routes work out of YVR, what hope does YXX have?

I’m all for YXX’s growth, but let’s be realistic about this – most of this growth will continue to be locally derived domestic and charter demand that is generated by population growth in the valley, not international or even transborder flights.
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  #10  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2009, 6:09 PM
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by twoNeurons View Post
I don't see it as diverting traffic to the Valley. I see it as an option to traveling out of YVR. From Surrey, YXX is about the same distance from YVR and YXX, depending on where in Surrey you are. The difference is that once you hit the #1, you can be at YXX in 25 minutes.

I can definitely see flights to India from Abbotsford. With the growing Korean population one to Seoul, too.

I'm not a fan of the HUB system. If I'm going to Disneyland, I don't want to go to LAX, I want to go to Ontario Airport.

If I'm going to Edinburgh, I don't want to have to fly to Glasgow. Airports with smaller planes and full flights serving people where people live.

I see a few possibilities for YXX:
Low cost airlines (similar to Bellingham and Allegiant)
Seasonal Charters (Hawaii, Europe)
A few select Special Destinations (India, Korea)

I don't see why we have to grow YVR for the sake of growing it. I'm fine with it growing slower while Abbotsford takes on more flights.

Also, the Mirabel comment make no sense.

Mirabel airport was supposed to be the MAIN airport, not a secondary one. Dorval was planned to be closed down. Mirabel also didn't serve any population. It was supposed to serve Montreal. YXX serves local population (realistically, those south of the Fraser River) as well as serving as a possible secondary airport for Metro Vancouver. It's nothing like Mirabel.
I don't think that anyone (well, other than zahav ) is advocating deliberately obstructing YXX's growth in order to have a higher growth rate for YVR. Some people here (i.e. RustyGull) appear to be skeptical about YXX's growth (although I would tend to disagree, I wouldn't be surprised if at least some of the possibilities you outlined came to be within the next 10 years or so), but I don't think that serves to imply they deliberately want to force YXX to not grow.

When you think about it, it's not terribly surprising YXX with have a higher growth rate that YVR. The number of passengers YXX is starting with is so low compared to YVR that it's almost impossible for it to not grow faster. Consider that it's supposed to grow to 4 times it's current size in 25 years. To keep up, YVR would have to be serving about 80 million passengers a year, making it one of the biggest airports in the world, which is obviously not going to happen. Even if YVR stole 2/3 of YXX's projected growth (i.e. a million passengers), YXX's growth rate would probably still be higher. Again, I'm not advocating this, but just showing how a low starting point can tend to skew growth rates to look like they mean more than they really do.


As for the Mirabel comment, you're overanalyzing it. What was meant that I think YXX should grow as it needs to (i.e. market demands), but we shouldn't articifially force growth (as was done with Mirabel through their international landings policy) simply because we want to make Abby a transportation "hub", due to the high percentile growth of the three-cities-as-one that he mentioned.
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  #11  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2009, 7:09 PM
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Originally Posted by phesto View Post
India? Korea? You guys are dreaming. Maybe in 20 or 30 years, but when airlines are having difficulties making these routes work out of YVR, what hope does YXX have?

I’m all for YXX’s growth, but let’s be realistic about this – most of this growth will continue to be locally derived domestic and charter demand that is generated by population growth in the valley, not international or even transborder flights.
I don't see why an Indian Carrier wouldn't fly to Abbotsford. It has the population base to support it. A good example would be Glasgow/Edinburgh. They have a most flights into the large Glasgow Int'l, but Edinburgh airport is getting more and more popular as its convenient.

Abbotsford isn't the size of Edinburgh (700,000) but it's a similar scenario. If Victoria wasn't separate by water, YXX wouldn't have a chance, but since it is...
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  #12  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2009, 7:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Jared View Post
I don't think that anyone (well, other than zahav ) is advocating deliberately obstructing YXX's growth in order to have a higher growth rate for YVR. Some people here (i.e. RustyGull) appear to be skeptical about YXX's growth (although I would tend to disagree, I wouldn't be surprised if at least some of the possibilities you outlined came to be within the next 10 years or so), but I don't think that serves to imply they deliberately want to force YXX to not grow.
Well, I think some would be in favor of policies of making sure Airport power is consolidated in YVR. Even though YVR is a whole lot more convenient for me, I see the value of Abbotsford gaining momentum.
Quote:
When you think about it, it's not terribly surprising YXX with have a higher growth rate that YVR. The number of passengers YXX is starting with is so low compared to YVR that it's almost impossible for it to not grow faster. Consider that it's supposed to grow to 4 times it's current size in 25 years.
True. Very true.
Quote:
As for the Mirabel comment, you're overanalyzing it. What was meant that I think YXX should grow as it needs to (i.e. market demands), but we shouldn't articifially force growth (as was done with Mirabel through their international landings policy) simply because we want to make Abby a transportation "hub", due to the high percentile growth of the three-cities-as-one that he mentioned.
That makes sense. Mirabel was definitely politics and policy gone bad. Totally agree that artificial growth and artificial hampering should both not be applied in this case. I may not benefit from YXX growth, but I see the sense in it.
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  #13  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2009, 7:38 PM
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i used mirabel once it was weird

its always better to have options surrey and the valley probably has the largest number of east indians and they would be well served with flights out of YXX
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  #14  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2009, 8:07 PM
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Originally Posted by twoNeurons View Post
I don't see why an Indian Carrier wouldn't fly to Abbotsford. It has the population base to support it. A good example would be Glasgow/Edinburgh. They have a most flights into the large Glasgow Int'l, but Edinburgh airport is getting more and more popular as its convenient.

Abbotsford isn't the size of Edinburgh (700,000) but it's a similar scenario. If Victoria wasn't separate by water, YXX wouldn't have a chance, but since it is...
YVR has a larger population base in proximity (both Indian and overall) and will always have better connections than YXX. You’re essentially suggesting a carrier would pass on YVR in favour of YXX, which I can’t imagine taking place. At best, maybe rotating service between the two, but even that is unrealistic.

Edinburgh isn’t exactly a good comparison as it gets millions of international tourist visits. Abbotsford on the other hand is neither a tourism nor business destination.
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Old Posted Jun 3, 2009, 8:59 PM
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Connecting flights is another important factor to keep in mind. Any long haul flight from India would be much more inclined to fly into YVR to open up connecting flights to its passengers that just don't exist in Abbotsford.
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Old Posted Jun 3, 2009, 9:38 PM
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well if its your destination there is no need to connect

i don't see why you all poo poo the yxx we should be glad we could support two international airports

one for the valley and one for the GVRD - abbotsford is like a world away
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Old Posted Jun 3, 2009, 9:45 PM
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No one is poo-pooing were just trying to have a rational discussion. Does YVR even have a direct to India flight right now?
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  #18  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2009, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by LeftCoaster View Post
No one is poo-pooing were just trying to have a rational discussion. Does YVR even have a direct to India flight right now?
^No, and that’s kind of my point. I’m not suggesting YXX shouldn’t strive for international flights, more power to them if they can land some of the routes that have been mentioned in this thread. But to suggest that this is going to happen any time soon when YVR itself is struggling to keep its international destinations? Dream on! There are very few North American cities that are able to attract significant international traffic to a secondary airport.

Also, it's not a zero-sum game, these two airports are not directly competing for every single flight, they are likely somewhat complimentary, and if YXX continues to grow it will be reflected in YVR's future growth.
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Old Posted Jun 3, 2009, 10:44 PM
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Kingfisher is supposed to have direct delhi-vancouver flights

according to this 2007 article

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Korenic said Kingfisher recently announced it will take delivery of five long-range Airbus A340-500 aircraft between March and August of 2008, which will give the company the equipment to offer long-distance flights. It will take several months to get the new aircraft into operation as well as to market the new service to local travel agents and their customers, he said.
so maybe sometime this year??
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Old Posted Jun 3, 2009, 10:47 PM
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will be nice to see here - nice livery

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