The incoming CEO of the Vancouver International Airport says his biggest challenge is to stem the flow of B.C. travellers heading across the border for cheaper flights.

Craig Richmond, who takes over control of YVR on July 2, says he is concerned the airport is losing too many travellers to U.S. airports such as Bellingham and Seattle. 

"It does concern me, I want people to fly out of this airport," said Richmond, speaking at the airport on Tuesday.

The former Canadian Forces fighter pilot worked at YVR until the early 2000s, before going on to manage six airports in three countries for the Vantage Airport Group, an airport management company half-owned by YVR.

"I think we're at a bit of a structural disadvantage with the American airports because where we pay rent, they don't have to pay rent. They can get grants from the government."

While he works to stem the flow, Richmond says he has no plans to raise fees at the airport.

"I do come from a background in the United Kingdom where the competition between airports is absolutely fierce, so I will be looking into it and we will be doing everything we can to bring passengers back to Vancouver."