Victoria Airport Guide
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Your Complete Guide to Victoria Airport

Victoria International Airport has the official IATA code of YYJ, and its ICAO code is listed as CYYJ. It is in the province of British Columbia, and is located in the area of Sidney. For this reason, it can also be referred to as the Sidney Airport. It is regarded as the second largest in terms of passenger traffic in British Columbia, and as the ninth busiest in the whole country. It handles approximately 1.5 million passengers per annum. Victoria Airport is served by a variety of airline companies which offer flights to domestic and international destinations, and is a modern and well-equipped facility that provides efficient services to all passengers.

The airport of Victoria International is located approximately 22km, or 14 north northwest of Victoria, and is on the Saanich Peninsula of Vancouver Island. It is just to the west of Sidney, and the Glen Meadows Golf and Country Club and Rotary Park are found to the south of the airport grounds. North of the airport is the Shoal Harbour Bird Sanctuary, and across the Saanich Inlet are the cities of Duncan, Chemainus, Ladysmith and Nanaimo. The Gowlland Tod Provincial Park, View Royal, Esquimalt, Colwood and Cadboro Bay are also in the vicinity. Travelling to Victoria Airport is quite easy, as the Patricia Bay Highway (Highway 17) passes it on the eastern side. The new McTavish Road interchange was also built in the recent years (completed April 2011), and has made a great improvement to the flow of traffic in the area. Further roads of importance in the vicinity include McTavish Road, W Saanich Road, Canora Road and Willingdon Road. The drive from downtown will take between twenty and forty minutes, depending on traffic conditions.

Passengers can travel to the airport by bus and taxi as well, however, there is no airport train station and therefore no direct train services to the terminal building. Local buses (routes 83, 86 and 88) operated by BC Transit are a popular way to reach the destination, as well as the Akal Airporter bus, that collects passengers from all hotels in downtown Victoria and from a number of other locations in the city. Coaches are also available from further areas, such as Nanaimo. A taxi ride to Victoria Airport will cost about $56.00 from downtown Victoria.

The history of Victoria International began in the early 1900’s, when it was just a grass strip and a military training base. Its position proved to be very convenient, located alongside Patricia Bay, and within a close range of the popular flying boats of that time. When the destination began operating, and for a number of years, it was named the Victoria (Patricia Bay) Airport. It is still often referred to as the Pat Bay. In 1948, the Department of Transport took over, and in 1959, it was officially named as the Victoria International. In the later twentieth century the Department of Transport (now Transport Canada) passed control of the operations to the Victoria Airport Authority, who has a lease for the airport of fifty years.

At the turn of the century plans were made for the renovation and expansion of Victoria International Airport, as the passenger numbers were increasing. By 2005 it had received a new airside hold room, a new arrivals rotunda and a new departures area. Plans have also been made for the next twenty years in order to keep a modern and well-organised facility, and to ensure sufficient space to meet the needs of growing passenger demands. Recent developments which have already been completed include a new maintenance facility and fire hall, two new passenger loading bridges and an additional public parking area. In progress is a bicycle/walking path around the perimeter of the airport property. In the next six to ten years runway 09 will have an improved lighting system, a general aviation taxiway will be constructed and additional terminal parking will be created. The first phase of terminal expansion will also begin, that will include an upper level hold room and two additional loading bridges.

In years further ahead Victoria Airport will receive a north concourse terminal expansion, a new car parking structure, a runway expansion and U.S. border preclearance facilities, as currently, it is not one of the eight airports in Canada with this service. Today, the airport has a single terminal building with nine gates. They are arranged as gates 1-7 and 9-10, with the first five used for international arrivals. Aircraft loading bridges are present at gates 1, 2, 9 and 10. The airport has three luggage carousels, one of which is for international passengers and the other two for passengers on domestic flights. The international baggage reclaim carousel is located alongside the customs area. An interesting aspect is the British Columbia Aviation Museum that is found on the grounds. It consists of a large display area, a classroom, a workshop and a gift shop. The museum’s larger exhibits are various aircraft and engines, and its smaller pieces are historical civilian and military artefacts including medals and uniforms.

Facilities for passengers within the terminal building include currency exchange services by ICE, ATMs, lost and found services, free wireless internet connections, public telephones and a bicycle assembly station. There is also a family room, a children’s play area and several shops and restaurants, including Tim Hortons, Starbucks Coffee and the Airside Cafe. Victoria International is fully accessible to disabled passengers, with elevators, suitable restrooms, automated sliding doors at the entrance of the terminal and reserved car parking spaces.

From Victoria International Airport, passengers can fly to wide range of destinations, including the non-stop destinations of Vancouver, Calgary, Abbotsford, Edmonton, Kelowna and Toronto in Canada, and San Francisco, Las Vegas, Seattle and Phoenix in the United States of America. Cancun, Honolulu and Puerta Vallarta are international destinations served by the airport’s airline companies. The main airline carriers at Victoria Airport are Air Canada, WestJet, CanJet, Flair Airlines, Sunwing Airlines, Pacific Coastal Airlines, Orca Airways, Island Express Air, Horizon Air and SkyWest Airlines.

Further information regarding Victoria Airport can be obtained from the Red Coat Information Desk at the following telephone number: (250) 953-7513. The Red Coat Ambassadors in bright red blazers can be found within the terminal for assistance with all aspects of the site’s operations.