The president and chief executive officer of the Victoria Airport Authority managing Victoria International Airport would like to see improvements to public transit serving the airport.
“Frankly, it [service] is all right, but there is no direct bus service from downtown to the airport,” said Geoff Dickson in a presentation to Saanich council Monday.”We have been successful in increasing the frequency from the Mctavish [Road] Interchange into the airport. It has almost tripled in the last number of years, and in fairness to [BC Transit], they have shifted a lot of their buses on the Peninsula to connect into that service. But I think there are still opportunities for improvement.”
He made those comments after questions from Coun. Ned Taylor.
Dickson acknowledged that public transit ridership to the airport is relatively small. “It is one of those things,” he said. “‘Build it and they will come,’ but an empty bus is not environmentally friendly, and it is not that economic. There is a lot of demand for bus service everywhere, and it is expensive.”
According to BC Transit’s route planner, travellers who want to reach Victoria International Airport by transit from Downtown Victoria have two broad choices. They can take a bus from there, then transfer at the Mctavish Road Interchange for a connecting bus to the airport. Or they can walk from a nearby stop after taking a bus that does not stop at the interchange, but nonetheless gets them close to the airport.
Dickson’s presentation also touched on another issue facing the airport. While he predicts a softening market in the short term because of taxation issues, he predicts that passenger numbers will continue to rise after hitting two million last year.
“That’s a significant event for this airport,” he said. “When I started in 2011, there [were] 1.5 million people travelling through the airport. So it won’t be long until we have 2.5 million, three million passengers.”
The airport stands to benefit if Victoria were to become a permanent home port for a cruise ship line, he said, in predicting additional flights to and from the United States.
U.S. flights will decrease in the fall following Delta’s announcement to cancel its three daily flights to Seattle because of business reasons.
Dickson said he wished the airline would not have cancelled its service. But Delta Airlines has been losing millions on the route, and ultimately, it is a business, not a charity, he said.
The airport is currently undergoing a $20 million expansion.