YVR 2037

Aviation industry advisor Heather Bell is one of the members of the YVR 2037 team. Image: Jordan Yerman

APEX Insight: Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is pushing ahead with its YVR 2037 master plan. Key stakeholder discussions and public workshops have taken place over the past few months, helping to shape the YVR of the future.

Vancouver International Airport is reinventing itself. YVR 2037 is the latest iteration of YVR’s master plan, a strategy that’s updated each decade to best figure out how the airport can use its land and resources. Through a series of storytelling exercises, YVR established what the future of commercial air travel might feel like.

The key areas of discussion that surfaced in the early stages of the master plan were terminals, airside/airspace, ground access, environment, amenities and land use. Despite the trend of moving more people with fewer takeoffs and landings due to larger aircraft, this international hub must anticipate continued growth in flight volume.

Though the project is called YVR 2037, the Vancouver Airport Authority is actually asking: “What does YVR look like in 2057?” This question guided discussions with the general public and key stakeholders. The stakeholder meetings involved mass transit, cargo companies, taxi firms and city development offices. During the three public workshops, which took place in September and October and were attended by around 150 people, it was determined that the most desired amenities were sleep pods and showers.

“There is a lot of process to go through, so we want people to know [of potential changes] now.” – Robyn McVicker, Vancouver Airport Authority

Since every little change involves many moving parts and many stakeholders, plans must be made decades in advance, said the Vancouver Airport Authority’s Marketing and Communications director Robyn McVicker: “There is a lot of process to go through, so we want people to know [of potential changes] now.”

For example, a north-south taxiway that would serve as a shortcut for planes moving between terminals would be the first of its kind, built for the purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It was actually planned well before the Vancouver 2012 Olympics, but only now is it emerging in public discourse. “It’s professional guessing!” said the Vancouver Airport Authority president and CEO Craig Richmond, though he reckons that the taxiway could become a reality within eight years.  Of course, notes his YVR 2037 colleague, aviation industry advisor Heather Bell, “nothing’s simple in aviation!” The new taxiway would make life simpler for many pilots but more complicated for a few, she says, depending on who ends up pulling into which gate. Still, the environmental gains were considered compelling enough to prioritize the new taxiway.

The YVR 2037 team will soon take its public workshops on the road, reaching communities outside of the Vancouver area to talk with people who cannot access the airport with great ease. At the end of the year, a more cohesive version of the YVR 2037 master plan will be made public.

Jordan juggles deadlines across various time zones as he writes about travel, culture, entertainment, and technology.