Issue 20-106: Travel

June 12, 2020

Limits on non-essential travel due to border closures and health authority recommendations continued to impact domestic and international travel in British Columbia in April. Travel traffic was at a virtual stand-still during the month.

Aviation activity in the Vancouver International Airport fell in April, with both cargo and passenger movements falling significantly in the month. Overall, there were 78.7% fewer aircraft movements in the Vancouver airport in April, compared to April 2019. Almost 13,000 fewer tonnes of cargo (-52.8%) were moved through the Vancouver airport in April versus last year, while the number of passengers enplaned and deplaned in the airport fell by 96.7%.

The reduction in passenger volumes was widespread across all travel areas. The number of domestic passengers fell by 95.7%, while all other passengers fell by 97.6%. The largest declines in the number of passengers travelling internationally were observed in transborder flights (-98.9%) and flights outside Asia Pacific and European destinations (-99.0%).

The Victoria International Airport also reported an activity slowdown in April. Overall, the number of aircraft movements fell by 64.3% in April, compared to April 2019. The number of metric tonnes of cargo (-48.4%) also fell in the same period. There were 155,180 (-97.3%) fewer passengers travelling through the Victoria airport in April than in the same month last year. The number of passengers travelling to and from the United States (-99.5%) and domestically (-96.9%) declined in the month, while travel to other international destinations halted completely in April.

Ferry traffic is a good measure of other domestic travel. Every BC Ferries route has observed steep declines in vehicle and passenger traffic. Overall, BC Ferries saw fewer passenger (-76.5%) and vehicle (-63.2%) traffic in April compared to last year. The largest route (by passenger count) between Tsawwassen (Vancouver) and Swartz Bay (Victoria) saw the number of passengers fall by 86.6% and vehicle traffic decline by 74.0%.

Data Sources: BC Ferries, Vancouver International Airport and Victoria International Airport.