Rendering of future new atrium within airport scheduled for completion in 2015.

$5 jump in airport fee to fly out of B.C. at YVR

Increase to $20 in AIF at Vancouver International Airport doesn't apply to flights within B.C.

Air travellers will pay an extra $5 to fly out of B.C. through Vancouver International Airport starting May 1.

The planned jump in the Airport Improvement Fee (AIF) from $15 to $20 is to fund $1.8 billion in improvements to the airport.

“YVR is facing increasing competition from other airports,” Vancouver Airport Authority president Larry Berg said in announcing the increase. “Both travellers and airlines have choices.”

The $5 fee for passengers flying within B.C. or to the Yukon remains unchanged.

The authority said the AIF, which was last increased in 2004, will remain among the lowest in Canada, with many other major airports collecting $25.

Berg outlined a 10-year strategy to improve YVR’s amenities and improve the airport’s competitiveness.

He said the aim is to reduce the time for passengers to transit through YVR from 90 minutes to under an hour.

Future projects include more than 700 metres of secure corridors and moving walkways to reduce connection times, new high-speed baggage systems, upgrades to the original areas of the domestic terminal and runway safety improvements.

YVR serves more than 17 million passengers and handles nearly 300,000 landings and takeoffs a year.

One of the challenges facing the airport has been cheaper fares out of U.S. airports like Bellingham, which has enjoyed a huge surge in its market share over the past decade.