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Vancouver International Airport

Vancouver International Airport

With over 17 million people passing through every year, award-winning Vancouver International Airport, or YVR, is the second busiest airport in Canada.



The coronavirus is impacting the Lower Mainland, as well as the entire country and the rest of the world. As the region’s main connection to other parts of the globe, YVR Airport is especially affected.

Since late March, 2020, the federal government has been advising Canadians against all non-essential travel (both domestically and out-of-country). It has also been mandating that travelers arriving from abroad self-isolate for two full weeks. Canadian borders are also closed to all foreign nationals (except for airline flight staff, family members of Canadians and permanent residents, vehicles involved in commerce, and members of the diplomatic service).

Travelers arriving at YVR from out of the country must fill out an official government COVID-19-related form and declare whether or not they are experiencing any symptoms related to the virus. Outbound passengers showing symptoms of the coronavirus are not be permitted to board. As of early January 2021, inbound passengers must also provide proof of having received negative  results for a COVID test prior to their flight.

Several airlines have cancelled all flights to and from Vancouver International Airport, and those that continue to operate have greatly reduced their numbers of flights.

Since April 20th, 2020, all airline passengers on domestic flights have been required to wear non-surgical masks or other face coverings. All inbound international travelers must also have written plans outlining how they plan to self-isolate upon arrival in Canada.

To learn more about how the current pandemic is affecting the airport and air travel in general, see the YVR Airport website.

For information about the outbreak’s impact on other places in the Lower Mainland, see our article about Vancouver Event & Attraction Cancellations.


Vancouver YVR Airport

If you’re visiting Vancouver from afar, chances are pretty good that you’ll be passing through Vancouver’s main airport (unless you arrived on a cruise ship or have been driving a long ways).

With over 17 million people passing through its gates every year, YVR is the second busiest airport in Canada. The other two airports of significance in the region are the Abbotsford International Airport (home of the Abbotsford Airshow every summer in August) and the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre (located downtown by the Vancouver Convention Centre and home to Harbour Air, which also offers departures from YVR).

As far as airports go in the world, Vancouver’s is one of the best. Yes, be prepared to do a fair bit of walking from one end to the other, but the facility is well laid out and has a good selection of interesting shops and restaurants to help pass the time.


YVR Airport on the Water
YVR, Fraser River and North Shore Mountains


Seaplanes and Helijet Helicopters

In addition to serving commercial airlines with their big regular planes, Vancouver Airport also has a seaplane terminal and a heliport.

Harbour Air operates its float planes out of a terminal on the Fraser River very close to YVR Airport’s South Terminal. The address for Harbour Air’s Richmond location is 4760 Inglis Drive.

Helijet is a helicopter company that offers flights to Victoria, Nanaimo, Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert. They have a heliport in downtown Vancouver just a block or so east of Waterfront Station‘s SeaBus terminal. Their Richmond location at YVR Airport is at 5911 Airport Road South.


YVR Airport View from the Air
View of YVR Airport from the Air


Tips and Advice

TIP #1: With public transit, from YVR to downtown Vancouver is two zones, or one zone on Saturdays and Sundays. If you plan to do more travelling later in the day, especially on a weekday at full price, and you expect to use Public Transit for three or so extra trips on the same date, or just two longer ones, then consider buying a day pass at less than $11 for an adult.

TIP #2: McArthurGlen is a designer outlet shopping mall that’s just a 5-minute drive from the airport. If you get to the airport early and want to do some shopping, it can be a good place to go. It’s also just two SkyTrain stops away.

TIP #3: Be aware that McArthurGlen can get insanely busy around Black Friday, Boxing Day and at other times during the Christmas shopping season. It can get so busy, in fact, that it can cause traffic delays for people trying to get to the airport. During busy shopping seasons, give yourself lots of extra time if needing to catch a flight.


Other Information

To learn more about Vancouver’s airport see the YVR Airport website. To learn about the Lower Mainland’s other main air travel hub, visit the Abbotsford International Airport website.

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