AIF hiked up from $15 to $20, effective May 1st
05-03-2012  By: Amanda Stutt
Vancouver International Airport (YVR) has increased the Airport Improvement Fee (AIF) from $15 to $20, effective May 1.

The AIF was originally introduced as a temporary fee, and was supposed to end in 2002.

Alana Lawrence, media relations officer for YVR, said the fee has been continued and increased to meet the needs of both travellers passing through the airport and the businesses there.

“Given that the Airport Authority is a not-for-profit organization - we receive no funding from the government and in fact actually pay them rent - the AIF has proved an important part in how we are able to fund those services and facilities to meet those demands,” she told HelloWestTravel.com in an interview.

According to the Vancouver Airport Authority’s 2011 Economic Report, rent paid to the federal government amounted to $34.8 million in 2011, up from $33.2 million in 2010. The increase in rent was the result of an adjustment in 2010, which reduced the airport’s revenue in the calculation of its ground lease payment.
Lawrence said the Airport Authority board approved the increase at the end of 2011, and then notified the airlines with 90 days notice so they could implement the increase into their systems.

In January 2012, the Airport Authority announced a 10-year strategy outlining $1.8 billion in improvements designed to keep Vancouver YVR competitive and an economic generator for British Columbia.

The Authority outlined specific projects that would start off the 10-year strategy.

They include over 700 metres of secure corridors and moving walkways to reduce connection times for passengers, new high-speed baggage systems, upgrades to the original areas of the 1968 Domestic Terminal Building and runway safety enhancements.

Lawrence said the AIF revenues will be used to fund these projects.

Specifically, the Airport Authority is trying to expedite the process for passengers connecting from an international to a domestic flight.

“Right now, it takes about 90 minutes to go from one to the other, and we’re trying to bring that down to about 60 minutes. One of the ways that we’ll do that is create new corridors [and] high-speed walkways, to help passengers get there more quickly,” she said.

Revenues from the AIF will also be used to upgrade the domestic terminal with larger holding areas at the gates and to repave the runways.

The Airport Authority is also responsible for maintenance and upkeep on the Arthur Laing Bridge and the surrounding roadways and dikes while receiving no funding.

“That’s all part of it - the sewage systems, everything on the island that’s still within the airport [boundaries] that we have to maintain, and pay to rent this space,” Lawrence said.