Issue 20-82: Travel Statistics

May 13, 2020

Restrictions imposed on travel and other health recommendations issued by provincial and federal authorities to stop the spread of COVID-19 had a large impact on domestic and international travel in British Columbia in March.

Aviation activity in the Vancouver International Airport fell in March, with both cargo and passenger movements falling significantly in the month. Overall, there were 27.1% fewer aircraft movements in the Vancouver airport in March. Over 8,000 fewer tonnes of cargo (-32.8%) were moved through the Vancouver airport in March compared to the same month last year, while the number of passengers enplaned and deplaned in the airport fell by almost half in the same period (‑48.3%).

The reduction in passenger volumes was widespread across all travel areas. The number of domestic passengers fell by 43.7%, while all other passengers fell by 52.4%. The largest declines in the number of passengers travelling internationally were observed in transborder flights (-55.9%) and flights to Asia Pacific (‑54.8%) destinations.

The Victoria International Airport also saw large declines in activity in March. Overall, the number of aircraft movements fell by 34.2% in March, compared to March 2019. The number of metric tonnes of cargo (-85.8%) also fell in the same period. There were around 82,690 (-50.5%) fewer passengers travelling through the Victoria airport in March than in the same month last year. The number of passengers travelling to and from the United States (-70.7%), other international destinations (-42.6%) and domestically (-47.7%) all declined in the month compared to the previous year.

Another useful statistic of domestic travel is ferry traffic. Overall BC Ferries saw fewer passenger (-41.7%) and vehicle (-30.3%) traffic in March compared to last year. Every route was affected, with the largest decline on the number of passengers in the Tsawwassen (Vancouver)-Swartz Bay (Victoria) route (‑51.3%).

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