Victoria airport plans $600 million expansion over 20 years

The Victoria International Airport is planning a $600 million expansion.

Vancouver Island’s busiest airport is looking at some significant changes over the next 20 years. The Victoria International Airport is planning a $600 million expansion.

“It’s quite a significant investment,” said Victoria International Airport’s CEO and president Geoff Dickson. “It’s a significant upgrade from the past capital plans.”

In its new master plan, which gets a refresh every 10 or so years, Victoria International Airport is planning to expand both east and west, adding more check-in booths, gates, and expanding international arrivals, something they’ve wanted to do for at least the past decade.

Some out-of-town travellers told CHEK News adding more affordable car-rental options should be included too.

“I noticed that there wasn’t every car rental company here. Some were in Sidney, and you had to shuttle back and forth,” said Janet Harris who is visiting with her husband from Winnipeg.

Car rentals aside, YYJ’s CEO says car ridership for those flying has been on the rise, but there are plans in BC Transit’s Peninsula strategy to build routes on the Pat Bay Highway.

“What we’re probably going to see is more connecting services at the McTavish interchange,” said Dickson.

And while Victoria’s International Airport is coming out of the pandemic not only debt-free but ready to invest, they didn’t avoid the sharp decline the pandemic caused in air travel.

“We were a two million passenger airport three, four years ago. Now we’re a 1.5 million passenger airport,” said Dickson.

Dickson says the airport’s expansion depends on travel fully bouncing back.

“We hope to get back to 100 per cent pre-pandemic levels this year, but travel has changed,” said Dickson. “We’re not seeing as many business travelers, we’re finding that’s shifted to zoom and teams calls. But there’s a pent-up demand on the leisure side, and we’re seeing big growth in the ultra low-cost carriers.”

Victoria’s airport hopes that’s enough evidence of things starting to shift, pointing to more growth.

“What we get excited about is talking about growth again,” said Dickson.

RELATED: Victoria Airport ‘delighted’ after being named one of the ‘most efficient’ in North America

Kori Sidaway

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