UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Planning for a multiple airport system in the Lower Mainland MacLaren, Guy


As the popularity of air transportation has grown, so has the traffic at airports around the world. Many North American airports are becoming increasingly congested as more people are flying and as more aircraft and airlines are operating. As aircraft movements at these airports have risen, so has the call for expansion of these facilities. Vancouver International Airport is one such case. Built on Sea Island in 1931, Vancouver International has served the people of the Lower Mainland very well over the years. Recent trends in the aviation industry, coupled with Vancouver's strategic location with respect to the Pacific market and the Lower Mainland's rapidly increasing population, have resulted in a major jump in the air traffic volume at Vancouver International over the past decade. Airport planners and government officials have responded to this rapid growth by implementing various enhancement measures and by proposing the physical expansion of Vancouver International by building a third runway. A third runway will greatly improve conditions at Vancouver International by reducing congestion and consequently decreasing aircraft delays. With the third runway in place, Vancouver International will be able to effectively compete with other west coast airports in attracting new business and investment, especially from the rapidly growing Pacific Rim. But an important question remains: for how long? Built on an island, Vancouver International can only expand by so much. The third runway represents the last major expansion possibility available to the airport. If aviation forecasts for the region are essentially correct, or more importantly, are considerably under-estimated, Vancouver International will be congested once again early in the next century. Therefore there is a need at this time to begin planning for the inevitable: a multiple airport system in the Lower Mainland. Vancouver's growing stature as an international city indicates that growth in this region will continue well into the next century, but all may be for not if this region cannot offer an efficient and effective airport system. Only a multiple airport system will be able to handle the predicted passenger and cargo loads resulting from this growth and recognition of the Lower Mainland. There is no need to begin building a second airport at this time; however planning for such an airport system must begin soon. This planning involves: * Deciding on an appropriate location * Ensuring that land is available for all airport infrastructure requirements (roads, transit links, parking, and airport related industrial complexes) * Notifying the public of airport development intentions * Incorporating a development plan for the second airport The question of when to build a second airport or even if a second facility should be built remains undetermined but if planners wait until it is absolutely necessary to build one, the land and time required may not be available. Everyone will lose. Hence, the time is now to beginning planning for a multiple airport system in the Lower Mainland.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.