British Columbia

Victoria Airport could expand in fall after record 2016

Victoria International Airport says passenger numbers grew almost 10 percent in 2016 and domestic visitors were largely responsible.

Terminal expansion could begin later this year and cost $10-$12 million

Last year, Delta Airlines began running a Victoria-Seattle route three times a day. (Victoria International Airport)

After a record number of passengers flowed through Victoria International Airport last year, YYJ is looking at speeding up expansion plans.

James Bogusz, the airport's vice president of operations, says the trend of high passenger volume is expected to continue.

"We actually saw 1.85 million passengers, which for us is an increase of 8.5 percent from last year," he told All Points West guest host Richard Zussman.

"It was record-breaking, and, honestly, a little unexpected, but nonetheless fantastic."

Bogusz says the trend is expected to continue and it is domestic traffic driving volume — particularly from Vancouver to Victoria.

He says the airport continues to try and attract new carriers to service more destinations and last year saw Delta start serving a Seattle-Victoria route.

Bogusz says there is now more apron area at the airport — areas where planes park and refuel and passengers embark and disembark. Future expansion plans have terminal space in mind.

"We have plans that we're working on this year, which we're hoping to present to the board over the summer. The lower hold room — we're looking at expanding that to the north considerably to offer more concessions, seating and retail," he said.

Bogusz says work on such an expansion could begin in the fall and cost $10-$12 million.

The capital would come from airport improvement fees paid by passengers, parking revenue and food sales.

With files from CBC Radio One's All Points West

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Victoria's YYJ airport sees record 2016, could expand in fall