Richmond Vancouver Airport Guide
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Your Complete Guide to Richmond Vancouver Airport

Vancouver Airport is an international establishment serving the city of Vancouver and its metropolitan areas. It is rated as the second busiest airport in Canada, after Toronto Pearson International, and is one of the most important gateways between Northern America and Asia. The location handles over sixteen million passengers per annum, and for the latest year, received just over seventeen million passengers. Its official IATA code is YVR, and its ICAO code is listed as CYVR. Vancouver Airport has extensive facilities for arriving and departing passengers in several terminals, is served by a large number of significant airline carriers and has ground transport options like no other one in Canada.

The location of Vancouver Airport is approximately 12km, or 7.5 miles south of Downtown. It is located on Sea Island, in the Richmond area of the city. Vancouver is also part of the British Columbia region of Canada. It is well known for its numerous tourist attractions, including Stanley Park, the Aquarium and Playland, and has a population of approximately 600,000 in the city and 2.2 million in the metro area. It also covers a vast area measuring approximately 45 square miles, or 117 square kilometres. The airport of Vancouver  is very nearby to Thompson and Marpole, as well as the McCleery Golf Course and the Point Grey Golf and Country Club, and is to the north of Point Roberts Airpark and Boundary Bay Airport. Alongside the western perimeters of the airport is the Strait of Georgia, with Vancouver Island on its western side. North American cities in the State of Washington, such as Seattle, Everett and Bellingham, lie to the south of the airport, as well as the Canadian areas of White Rock and Surrey. Chilliwack is east of Vancouver, as well as Kelowna and Kamloops, while Squamish and Whistler are found to the north.

Vancouver Airport is accessed by Grant McConachie Way, and from the Highways 99 and 91. Highway 7 and the roads of SE Marine Drive and Granville Street provide access as well. For motorists there are parking areas available for short-term and long-term stays, and there are valet parking and business class parking options. Further access to the facilities is provided by trains, buses and taxi services. It is the only airport in Canada with a railway station, and is connected to Richmond and Vancouver by the new Canada Line (completed in 2009). Trains run frequently to and from the YVR-Airport Train Station. Long-distance buses travel from Seattle, Whistler and Victoria on Vancouver Island, and local shuttles provide transport between the terminals and popular hotels in the area. The taxi services on site are operated by Aerocar Service.

The airport, one of eight with U.S. Border Preclearance facilities, is a major gateway between the United States and Canada. Regular flights are offered to the American cities of Las Vegas, Denver, New York, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, Seattle, Dallas and Los Angeles. There are also numerous flights to Beijing, Hong Kong and Tokyo, and to the London-Heathrow and Paris-Charles de Gaulle. Several airline companies have local flights, to Calgary, Montréal, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Kelowna and Edmonton. Vancouver is a hub for the airline companies of Air Canada, Air Canada Express and Transat, and is also a focus city for WestJet. Further airline carriers serving the destination include British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, China Airways, Japan Airways, Cathay Pacific, US Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Tofino Air, United Airlines, Sunwing Airlines, Pat Bay Air, Miami Air, Hawkair, Delta Air Lines, Edelweiss Air, American Airlines, Canadian North, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines. Passenger traffic at Vancouver Airport in 2011 was noted as 17,032,742, and its aircraft movements were recorded at 296,942.

Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator, was perhaps one of the reasons why Vancouver Airport came into existence, as in 1927, he refused to include Vancouver in his North American tour as is had ‘no fit field to land on’. The city then bought land on Sea Island, and the construction of an airport runway began in April 1930. A small wooden building and control tower was built as well. Improvements were made to the facilities during World War II, and in future years, as the airport grew in popularity, much greater expansions were achieved as well. A new terminal was opened in 1968, and saw 1.9 million passengers in the first year of service. It was also a $32 million building. In 1996, the 16-gate International Terminal was opened, and a new control tower was built. The older terminal building completed in 1968 has also recently been renovated. Between 2007 and 2027, the airport has several plans for extensions, some of which are already completed, such as the four-gate expansion to the International Terminal, and will continue to adequately meet the needs of its passengers, who are expected to greatly increase in future years.

In 2001, Vancouver Airport played a major role in ‘Operation Yellow Ribbon’ during the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. Thirty-four flights carrying 8,500 passengers were diverted to Vancouver. Additional achievements for the airport include several important awards, including the ‘Best North American Airport’ award by Skytrax (2007 and 2010) and the title of Best Canadian Airport.

Vancouver Airport has three terminals. The Domestic and International Terminals are alongside each other and are the main passenger buildings, while the South Terminal is further away, and used for a few regional airline companies. A shuttle bus runs between the South Terminal and the main terminals about three times an hour. The airport also has four runways, of which two are over 3,000 metres in length. The Domestic and International Terminals boast extensive facilities, with over 160 shops, restaurants and services. It would even be tenth overall for number of stores if included in a list of Greater Vancouver shopping centres. It is the world’s first airport with four spas, and the Fairmont is a hotel that has continuously been recorded on Condé Nast magazine’s ‘Top 100 Gold List’. The hotel is nearby the U.S. departure gates. Further facilities include banking and currency exchange services, postal services, medical and dental clinics, BC Visitor Centres and baggage services, and the whole complex is accessible to disabled passengers.

The Vancouver Airport Customer Care Counters are available for further information, and can be contacted at 604-207-7077. Green Coat volunteers are found in the terminals as well.

YVR is the official IATA code for Richmond Vancouver Airport. It is possible to enter the following GPS coordinates 49.19389, -123.18333 to aid you in your travelling.

Please find below a selection of Airlines, Destination and approx flight times from Vancouver.

Destination Weekly Flights Distance
Calgary (YYC) 160 686 Km (426 Miles)
Victoria (YYJ) 158 63 Km (39 Miles)
Edmonton (YEG) 118 809 Km (503 Miles)
Toronto (YYZ) 105 3,345 Km (2,079 Miles)
Kelowna (YLW) 94 287 Km (178 Miles)
Seattle (SEA) 73 204 Km (127 Miles)
Los Angeles (LAX) 67 1,741 Km (1,082 Miles)
Nanaimo Harbour (ZNA) 66 7,724 Km (4,800 Miles)
Prince George (YXS) 64 523 Km (325 Miles)
Victoria Inner Harbor (YWH) 49 87 Km (54 Miles)

Here you can see the busiest Airlines that fly from Richmond Vancouver are Air Canada, Air Canada Express and WestJet amongst others. They cover 92 flight routes out the total of 91. Air Canada is the most frequent with around 1,052 flights a week out of a total of 4226. Of all the destinations from Vancouver International , Air Canada covers 25%. Victoria International, Calgary International, Lester B. Pearson International, Edmonton International, Kelowna and Prince George being the most frequent destinations.

You can see below a selection of nonstop flights covered with approximate times

Airliner Destination Flight Time (Est)
Air Canada Victoria (YYJ) 11 minutes
Air Canada Calgary (YYC) 1 hour 37 minutes
Air Canada Toronto (YYZ) 4 hours 45 minutes
Air Canada Edmonton (YEG) 1 hour 46 minutes
Air Canada Kelowna (YLW) 51 minutes
Air Canada Prince George (YXS) 1 hour 26 minutes

When arriving at Vancouver International you will find the most popular car hire companies situated close by. You will need to present a valid driving licence and credit card if you intend to hire a vehicle. With so much choice of car rental at Richmond Vancouver airport it may be wise to book online before you arrive as there is limited choice of vehicles at certain times of the year.