Passengers flying out of the province from the Vancouver International Airport will be paying a little more to help with operating costs next year.
The Vancouver Airport Authority, the non-profit that manages Vancouver airport, has announced the airport improvement fee will be increase from $20 to $25, effective Jan. 1, 2020.
"We recognize this might not be a popular decision with the public, but the increase to the [fee] is absolutely necessary for the long-term financial health of the airport and the benefit of our community," said airport authority president Craig Richmond in a written statement.
The improvement fee is used to support infrastructure like runways and terminals. The airport doesn't receive government funding to offset its operational costs.
"If we took away the [airport improvement fee], YVR wouldn't be able to keep up," Richmond said.
"Our infrastructure would wear down, the passenger experience would decline, people would choose other airports for connections."
About a third of the airport's revenue comes from the improvement fee, which has collected $2.2 billion between its launch in 1993 and the end of 2018.
Passengers pay the fee through the airlines, which will start charging the new rate on Dec. 12 for any travel in the new year and onwards.
Those catching flights within British Columbia and the Yukon will still pay a discounted fee of $5.
The airport authority last raised fees in 2012 and, with the new rates, is still one of the lowest among major Canadian airports. Only the Ottawa International Airport collects a lower fee, $23. Airports in Calgary, Montreal and Edmonton all charge $30.
"It is our responsibility to ... ensure that in 20 years we see a thriving airport still making good on our public mandate—and that we have not tied the hands of future boards that would have to make drastic decisions on cutting back on construction or changing the level of service," said Richmond.