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Higher fees for travellers at YVR

RICHMOND (NEWS1130) – Expect to pay more flying out of YVR.  Airport improvement fees are going up from $15 to $20 in May.

The airport claims it’s the first hike since 2004 and is still less than the $25 you pay at many other Canadian airports. The fee will affect people flying outside the province.

For Stewart Halstead, on business from Calgary, the change could mean an extra $50 a year.  “In Calgary we’re seeing a lot of change and a lot of money going into the airport as well, and it is important, but I think for somebody as frequent as I am here in the airport, eight or nine times a year; that adds up.”

Larry Berg is the president of YVR. He says this fee doesn’t mean Vancouver is giving up competing against airports in Bellingham and Seattle for flights to places like Las Vegas.

“Not at all. In fact we have very successful services out of Vancouver to the ‘Sun Spots’ in the United States, if you will. But the purpose of this expansion program is really to expand on our capacity.”

Ray Tobias was at the airport to pick people up, but says he flies through the US when he can. “If I can find other places that are cheaper to depart from, then I’ll go there. Bellingham, or Sea-Tac I’ll use, definitely.”

The extra revenue will pay for $1.8 billion in changes over the next 10 years, with a major focus to be cutting connection times between international and domestic flights.

The plan is also for new secure corridors, moving walkways, as well as a better baggage system to transfer your luggage more quickly. The Domestic Terminal will also get a facelift, and runways will be made safer.

Many passengers aren’t happy about paying extra for more moving walkways, and high speed baggage systems to reduce flight connection times.  Jane Ferguson, picking up friends at the airport says she’s not a fan.  “I don’t like the idea at all.  I think it’s expensive enough, and I don’t need the moving walkways.”

Barbara Staples from Thunder Bay says the upgrades will be appreciated, especially by an aging population.  “You know if you didn’t have much time, that would come in handy, and especially if you’re old.”