New Wing Takes Shape
YVR recently celebrated an important milestone with the completion of the structural steel framework for the International Terminal expansion- quite a feat when you consider 3,750 metric tonnes of steel were erected.
To commemorate the occasion, Bob Cowan, Senior Vice President, Engineering, hosted a ceremony recognizing the outstanding efforts involved in meeting this challenge. Through the teamwork of several different groups, YVR was able to meet its goal. The team included: Empire Iron Works, PCL, the general contractor, Stantec, the lead architectural firm, structural engineers Bush Bohlman, and the YVR Project Management team headed by Ray Zibrik.
The largest project of the Airport Authority's $1.0-billion capital program, the $420-million, nine-gate expansion is progressing on time and on budget. By spring 2007, phase one of the International Terminal expansion will be completed, adding four gates, two of which will be able to accommodate the new Airbus A380.
FROM TORINO TO YVR: MANAGING PEAKS OF OLYMPIC PROPORTIONS
The Torino Olympics have come and gone, and what spectacular Games they were, with Canada's athletes winning more medals in more events than ever before. Behind the celebration of athleticism was a team of organizers working tirelessly to make the splendour look effortless.
One of the Torino 2006 Olympic Organizing Committee's tasks was planning for athletes' and spectators' smooth passage through the airport. A key member of YVR's management team was in Torino to learn from the Italians' experience with passenger facilitation, and bring the learnings home to B.C., not only for 2010, but also for all major events that might cause an influx of passengers at YVR.
Typically, airports are not well equipped to handle unusually large swells of passengers over a short period of time. All airports experience busy times when more passengers than usual will need to use the terminals- in the industry we call these "peaks" - and airport operators strive to manage peaks by reducing them wherever possible.
The peak at the end of the Olympic Games is unavoidable, as athletes and spectators who arrived at different times for different events tend to depart in a condensed period of time following the closing ceremonies.
Here at YVR we deal with large peaks, the most significant of which occurs from approximately 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. This peak is driven by flight banks at major Asian and European mega-hubs, and by the key windows of time for passengers in Eastern North America to depart to or get home from YVR before or after flying across the Pacific via the Vancouver gateway.
Vancouver is a beautiful city with a strong tourism industry, and we are a popular port of call for Alaska cruises. This also contributes to our peaks, which naturally go up during cruise season and the summer months.
During peak periods, YVR generally operates at capacity. The advantage of dealing with such peaks is that we've long recognized the need to have processes and systems in place to deal with large influxes of passengers, and we've worked hard to prepare our airport to handle them smoothly.
One of the ways we've managed peaks is through innovations in airport technology and processes to simplify the passenger experience, including our use of self-service check-in kiosks both at the airport and off site, cruise ship on-board check-in, and border programs like CANPASS Air and NEXUS Air.
We call this series of programs designed to get passengers quickly and efficiently through the airport YVR FasTrack, and we're always working to expand our initiatives.
The future of simplified passenger travel is off-airport passenger and baggage check-in, and it's a technology we're already testing. Following the conclusion of the World Junior Hockey Tournament in Vancouver in January, 140 players from the Russian, Finnish, Swiss and Norwegian teams were checked in along with their baggage at three separate hotels. Baggage tags and boarding passes were distributed in advance, meaning the players didn't have to haul their bulky hockey bags through the airport.
With our experience and innovation in simplifying passenger travel, and the invaluable insight we'll gain from Torino, we're well on our way to a smooth journey in 2010, when YVR will represent both a starting place and a homecoming for many an Olympic dream.
Passengers Rate YVR Among The Best
YVR's commitment to delivering unparalleled customer service has been recognized, yet again.
In a recent survey, passengers rated YVR among the best airports in the world for customer satisfaction.
For the eighth consecutive year, YVR placed among the top 10 airports for customer satisfaction in the 2005 AETRA survey of international airports. YVR was rated No. 4 overall in the Americas and No. 6 in the world in our size category of 15 to 25 million passengers per year. This year, we also earned the distinction of second place in the Most Improved Airport category.
The AETRA survey measures satisfaction levels in various customer service areas including: airport services and facilities, efficiency of check-in staff and waiting time at check-in, availability of directional signage and flight information screens, and overall airport environment, such as ambience and airport cleanliness.
AETRA distributed more than 100,000 questionnaires at 66 airports worldwide. Our rating reaffirms YVR's position among the world's premier airports and are a testament to the efforts of both our employees and business partners.
AETRA, formerly known as IATA, provides a customer satisfaction benchmarking program for many of the world's leading airports, including London Heathrow, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai. For further information on the program, and highlights from the 2005 survey, click here.