Airport terminates major infrastructure project

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 12:41 PDT, Wed September 9, 2020

Last Updated: 2:13 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021

The Vancouver International Airport announced the cancellation of its CORE infrastructure program today amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I want to thank the hundreds of construction workers, designers, engineers and our own team members for their excellent work on the CORE Program over the past two years,” said airport CEO Tamara Vrooman. “Cancelling this major infrastructure project was a difficult but necessary decision. We simply do not need the capacity this project brings for the foreseeable future and need to prioritize our resources elsewhere.”

The pandemic has impacted many industries, but aviation has been among the hardest hit. The program, which was designed when the airport was experiencing massive growth, included a new central utilities building, a geo-thermal heating and cooling system and a ground transportation centre with a new parkade. 

The ongoing decline of air travel means the additional capacity is not immediately necessary. In place of the now-cancelled growth project, the airport will focus on more immediate needs, Vrooman said. 

The Airport Authority entered the pandemic on strong financial footing, and it continues to take steps to reduce operating and capital costs where possible in order to protect the airport’s long-term financial health. At this point, planned projects include trials for health screening and testing, improving data and technology infrastructure and enhancing cargo facilities.

The $300 million international terminal expansion will be completed by the end of this year. But the CORE project will be halted in its current state, and can be restarted when the need arises.

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