Victoria International Airport
|Operator||Victoria Airport Authority|
|Serves||Victoria, British Columbia|
|Location||North Saanich, British Columbia|
|Time zone||PST (UTC-08:00)|
|o Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-07:00)|
|Elevation AMSL||64 ft / 20 m|
Victoria International Airport (IATA: YYJ, ICAO: CYYJ) serves Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. It is 12 nautical miles (22 km; 14 mi) north northwest of Victoria on the Saanich Peninsula, with the bulk of the airport (including the passenger terminal) in North Saanich, and a small portion of the airfield extending into Sidney. The airport is run by the Victoria Airport Authority. YYJ has many nonstop daily flights to Vancouver International Airport (YVR, about 15 minutes), which is a major airport serving many global routes. Additionally, Victoria International has nonstop service to Seattle (SEA), Toronto (YYZ), Montreal (YUL, summer only), Calgary (YYC), Edmonton (YEG), and several smaller cities in British Columbia and Yukon. The airport also has seasonal (late fall to early spring) nonstop service to several Mexican resort destinations. Non-stop service between Victoria and the United States will decrease by 50% beginning in September 2019 when Delta Airlines permanently ends its three daily flights, after which only Alaska Airlines will fly the Victoria - Seattle route.
Victoria International Airport is classified as an airport of entry by Nav Canada and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). CBSA officers at this airport can handle aircraft with no more than 450 passengers, when unloaded from the aircraft in stages, or 120 normally. YYJ does not have United States customs and border preclearance, however many passengers fly first to Vancouver International Airport (YVR), which does have U.S. preclearance.
In 2018, YYJ served 2,048,627 passengers and had 120,936 aircraft movements, making it Canada's 11th busiest airport in terms of passengers. It was British Columbia's third busiest airport in terms of passengers and aircraft movements.
Like most airports that are run by local authorities in Canada, YYJ charges an airport improvement fee for each outgoing passenger. As of December 2018, it was $15.00 per departing passenger. AIF fees are usually added to fares and collected automatically by most airlines.
The airport started in 1939 as a grass strip, and was used as a military training airfield. During the early part of WWII (1940 - 1941), the airfield was used as Royal Air Force Station Patricia Bay, for training personnel for basic flying training, preparatory to returning them to the UK.
In approximately 1942 the aerodrome was listed as RCAF Aerodrome - Patricia Bay, British Columbia at with a variation of 24 degrees E and elevation of 25 feet (8 m). The aerodrome was listed with three runways as follows:
|13/31||5,000 feet (1,524 m)||200 feet (61 m)||Hard surfaced|
|8/26||5,000 feet (1,524 m)||200 feet (61 m)||Hard surfaced|
|2/20||5,000 feet (1,524 m)||200 feet (61 m)||Hard surfaced|
The airport is located beside Patricia Bay, which, due to the prevalence of flying boats at the time, proved to be an excellent location. The Department of Transport took over the airport in 1948. It was then called Victoria (Patricia Bay) Airport, and many locals still refer to it as the "Pat Bay Airport". Trans-Canada Airlines (later Air Canada) began regular service in 1943.
The last Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) unit left the airport in 1952. In the late 1980s the RCAF returned to the property when 443 Helicopter Squadron began operating CH-124 Sea King ship-borne anti-submarine helicopters from Victoria International Airport. The RCAF refers to 443 Squadron operations at the airport as the Patricia Bay Heliport.
In 1959, the airport was renamed the "Victoria International Airport".
In 1997, as part of a broad scale restructuring of airports across Canada, Transport Canada (formerly the Department of Transport), gave operational control of the airport to the Victoria Airport Authority.
In 2000, the Victoria Airport Authority began the process of renovating and expanding the terminal to meet passenger needs. In 2002, the new "airside hold room" and the new "arrivals rotunda" were rebuilt. By 2005, the new "departures area" was completed.
In May 2005, the federal government, which owns the land, announced a reduction in the rent paid by the Victoria Airport Authority. This will save $0.6 million Canadian each year and $12 million CAD over the life of the lease, which is 50 years.
In September 2018, United Airlines announced that the daily United Express flight from Victoria to San Francisco would permanently end on 07 January 2019, concluding over a decade of daily non-stop service between the two cities.
In March 2019, Delta Airlines announced that all Delta flights from Victoria to Seattle would permanently end on 02 September 2019, concluding a three year presence by the airline in Victoria and leaving Alaska Airlines as the only airline serving Victoria directly from Seattle or anywhere in the United States. Delta's decision also marked the second airline to leave Victoria in 2019 after United Airlines withdrew service in January 2019.
The main terminal has nine gates, organized as gates 1-2 and 4-10. Gates 1,2 and 9,10 are equipped with aircraft loading bridges.
Gates 1,2,5 and 6 are used to handle international passenger arrivals.
There are three luggage carousels: two located at the arrivals area for domestic passengers, and one for international flights located inside the customs area.
Nearly all commercial flights at Victoria fly to domestic airports or to destinations in the United States. Seasonal scheduled flights by Air Transat, Sunwing Airlines, and WestJet also connect Victoria to tourist destinations in Mexico. For the Summer 2017 season, Air Canada Rouge operated wide-body Boeing 767s on its daily flights to Toronto
|Air Canada Rouge|| Toronto-Pearson|
|Air North||Kelowna, Vancouver, Whitehorse|
|Air Transat||Seasonal: Cancún, Puerto Vallarta|
|Island Express Air||Abbotsford, Nanaimo, Tofino|
|Pacific Coastal Airlines||Cranbrook, Kelowna, Prince George, Vancouver|
|Sunwing Airlines||Seasonal: Huatulco, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo (begins December 21, 2019), Mazatlán (begins December 22, 2019), San José del Cabo|
|Swoop||Seasonal: Winnipeg (begins April 27, 2020)|
|WestJet|| Calgary, Edmonton|
Seasonal: Cancún, Puerto Vallarta, San José del Cabo, Toronto-Pearson
|WestJet Encore||Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna, Vancouver|
|Morningstar Air Express||Vancouver|
Victoria Airport Authority's 2008 master plan laid out a timeline of proposed changes to the airport.
There are several organisations that offer flight training at the airport:
Victoria International Airport is 22 km from downtown Victoria.
It is served by a direct shuttle bus service, YYJ Airport Shuttle, to and from downtown and hotels, and by taxis (Yellow Cab).
BC Transit routes 87 and 88 make connections to the airport. Passengers using BC Transit can connect with intercity (Greyhound Bus Lines, IslandLink Bus, or Tofino Bus Services) and regional coach service (Pacific Coach Lines) in Victoria.
By car, the airport is normally a 20-minute drive from downtown Victoria (with little or no traffic, and a 40-minute drive with traffic) via Highway 17. The airport has short term and long term/daily parking lots next to the terminal with an additional overflow lot. Rental lot is located to the southwest of the terminal building.
A new interchange at Highway 17 and McTavish Road, the main highway access point to the airport, was completed in April 2011. Funding for the interchange was shared between the federal, provincial governments and Victoria Airport Authority.
Victoria International Airport Fire and Rescue operates three crash tenders and one support vehicle to deal with emergencies at the airport. The current station (Airport Fire Service and Airport Operations) opened in 2010 to replace the former station dating back to World War II.