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For Immediate Release

Dec. 19, 2012

Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training
and Minister Responsible for Labour



B.C. government celebrates new direct flights to Vancouver and Kelowna airports


VICTORIA – Significant progress was made in B.C. airports this year to attract new direct flights.


Last night, Kelowna’s International Airport welcomed the arrival of United Airlines’ inaugural direct flight from Los Angeles. The airline will provide daily, year-round service as well as two flights per day on Saturdays between January and April. Kelowna International Airport’s Economic Impact Study estimates each daily, long-haul flight adds 21 person years of employment and 1.2 million in wages to the Okanagan’s economy.


Kelowna International Airport also welcomed North Western Air’s twice weekly direct service to Red Deer in April as well as a new seasonal WestJet flight to Phoenix and Los Angeles.


Vancouver International Airport is celebrating a new daily Lufthansa flight to Munich, which will begin on May 16, 2013 and will run to October 5, 2013. It is estimated that the Vancouver-Munich route will create 131 new jobs and will contribute $8.7 million to B.C.’s GDP during its initial six month daily service. It is estimated the new service will draw nearly 15,000 visitors to B.C.


This announcement follows Virgin Atlantic Airways’ new seasonal direct flights from the UK, which began in May and ran through October. Up to 40,000 passengers were expected to take advantage of this service, generating approximately $21.5 million in tourism revenue and creating an additional 172 direct jobs in hotels, restaurants, shops and tourist attractions.


Sichuan Airlines, offering North America’s first and only direct flight to China’s interior, began offering service three times per week between Vancouver and Chengdu, via Shenyang, on June 22. Sichuan Airlines’ service was estimated to generate 56 person years of employment.


Earlier this year, the government of B.C. eliminated the jet fuel tax for international flights, reducing costs for airlines, creating jobs, giving travellers more choice and supporting the BC Jobs Plan goal of expanding markets. The elimination of the tax means expanded services, increased flight options and lower fares, and will increase B.C.’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.


Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan targeted one new international carrier into YVR per year between 2011–2013. That goal was achieved within one year, and the success has continued through 2012.




Mary Polak, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure —


“As Canada’s Pacific Gateway, B.C. is working to bring new investment into our economy and increase our competitiveness in the global marketplace. This new, direct United Airlines service to Kelowna will create new opportunities for businesses throughout the region and create jobs for B.C. families. At the same time, this will help to strengthen our aviation sector and connect B.C. with the world.”



Why It Matters:


·         International visitors spend over $3 billion each year in B.C.

·         In 2010, 4.4 million international overnight visitors came to B.C., accounting for 28 per cent of overall visitor volume but nearly 40 per cent of visitor expenditures.

·         The tourism industry contributed $6.5 billion of added value to the B.C. economy, as measured through GDP (in 2002 constant dollars).

·         In 2011, the largest increase driving GDP was in tourism-related transportation, which expanded 2.9 per cent, primarily due to a rise in air transportation.

·         In 2011, the tourism industry generated $13.4 billion in revenue.

·         In 2011, there were 126,700 people were employed in tourism-related businesses, a 15 per cent increase since 2001.



Quick Facts:


Statistics Canada International Customs Entries for October 2012

·         Overall, in October 2012, international overnight entries to British Columbia were up 6.5 per cent over October 2011.

·         In October 2012, of the 24,922 overnight entries from China to Canada, 53.4 per cent entered through B.C.


Since the launch of the BC Jobs Plan in September of last year, over 10 new or expanded international flights have been announced for B.C. as well as over 50 temporary or seasonal flights to and from B.C.


New/Expanded International Service


·         Effective June 1, 2013, Air Canada will increase its service between Vancouver and Beijing from daily to eleven flights weekly.

·         Sichuan Airlines began three times per week passenger service between Vancouver and Chengdu, via Shenyang, on June 22, 2012.

·         Effective Dec. 18, 2012, United Airlines – through their subsidiary United Express – will begin daily, non-stop service between Kelowna and Los Angeles.


Temporary/Seasonal International Service


·         Between Dec. 14, 2012 and Jan. 28, 2013, Air Canada will increase service from daily to 10 weekly between Vancouver and Sydney.

·         Air China during the Christmas and New Year 2012-13 season will be adding a total of seven extra flights between Vancouver and Beijing.

·         Air New Zealand will add an additional weekly flight between Auckland and Vancouver between March 31, 2013 and June 30, 2013.

·         As of Dec. 13, 2012, an additional weekly flight was added between Auckland and Vancouver for the winter 2012-13 season.

·         For the summer 2012 season (mid June until early September), Air Transat increased service between Vancouver and Paris by one additional flight per week compared to summer 2011.

·         Effective June 1, 2013, British Airways will increase its service between Vancouver and London from daily to 12 times weekly for the 2013 summer season (Note, this is an annual occurrence).

·         Between June 22, 2012 and Sept. 10, 2012, China Eastern increased its service between Shanghai and Vancouver from daily to 11 flights weekly.

·         Announced May 22, 2011, Condor increased summer 2012 seasonal service from two to three flights weekly between Vancouver and Frankfurt.

·         Effective June 6, 2013, Delta will begin daily, non-stop service between New York JFK and Vancouver.

·         Dec. 13, 2012 – Jan. 13, 2013, Korean Air will increase service from five weekly to daily between Vancouver and Seoul.

·         June 1, 2012 – Sept. 1, 2012, Korean Air increased service from five weekly to daily between Vancouver and Seoul.

·         On Nov. 22, 2012, YVR announced the launch of Lufthansa daily, non-stop service between Vancouver and Munich for the 2013 summer season (May 16 – Oct. 5).

·         Virgin Atlantic provided four times per week summer 2012 passenger service between Vancouver and London commencing May 24, 2012 until the end of Oct. 2012.

·         Between May 14, 2012 and Oct. 27, 2012 WestJet provided daily, non-stop service between Vancouver and Chicago.


Kelowna International Airport (YLW)

·         One of the top ten busiest airports in Canada.

·         YLW’s total economic impact is 2,730 jobs and $610 million in total economic output to the Province.

·         1.4 million passengers in 2011 and forecasted to grow to 1.6 million by 2015.

·         In 2009, the B.C. government provided $1.35 million in funding toward the runway extension project at YLW.


Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

·         Canada's second busiest airport.

·         YVR served approximately 17 million passengers in 2011.

·         63 airlines serve YVR, connecting people and businesses to more than 100 destinations in Canada, the U.S. and around the world.

·         YVR employs 23,600 people on Sea Island in Richmond.




Media Relations

Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation

250 356-8177



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