Top 20 Photos of 2020


Photo credit: @jfkjetsofficial

Safe to say it was a year like no other at YVR – one filled with unexpected challenges, but also some exciting new opportunities as we faced our biggest adversity ever as an industry and as an airport. Let’s take a look back at the year that was, through 20 of our favourite photographs that helped capture some of the incredible things that happened at YVR in 2020 and celebrate the things we accomplished as a community while also looking towards a brighter future.

Snow Ops. Photo by Zeljko Travica/@ztravica

Photo credit:Zeljko Travica/@ztravica

1. Snow Ops

We don’t always get a lot of snow here on Sea Island, but we’re definitely always prepared. It’s a good thing too because last year, there was a lot! We saw our first snowfall of 2020 in January and our crew worked tirelessly to ensure safe operations at YVR. Did you know that YVR uses 60 pieces of snow removal equipment to help clear our runways and taxiways? We’re also capable of melting 20 truckloads of snow per hour.

Eau de baggage

2. Eau de Baggage

Looking for an exciting new fragrance that captures the very essence of travel? In February we launched our parody cologne Eau De Baggage to encourage our travellers to Smell their Journey and explore new destinations near and far. The video recently won Best Video Production at the Airports Council Marketing Awards and stands out as one of the silliest things we’ve ever created to try and engage with our passengers amidst a year that had some serious challenges. We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it. Fun Fact: All actors including voice over talent are Vancouver Airport Authority employees.

A little girl in a yellow rain suit runs towards the camera

3. Little Wings

Supporting our community is part of our DNA at YVR. Early this year, we were thrilled to announce Little Wings Daycare reopened at a new location on Sea Island. Little Wings Daycare has been part of our Sea Island community for nearly 30 years and plays an important role in the lives of many residents and employees.

A ride app pick-up sign hangs outside YVR's domestic terminal.

4. Ride App Services at YVR

It may look like a photo of a sign on the curb (it is), but the unveiling of the sign and the official introduction of ride app services like Uber and Lyft was a big deal at YVR and represented a significant increase in transportation options for passengers arriving and departing from the airport. We also recently welcomed KABU to the ride-hailing app family at YVR to give our community even more options and improve the overall passenger experience.

A lineup of WestJet planes parked on the airfield

5. COVID Impacts

File this photo under things you’d never thought you’d see. This flock of WestJet aircraft were parked on the runway threshold at YVR as the initial impacts of the Coronavirus (as it was commonly referred to then) ground global aviation to a halt and resulted in images like the one above from airports across the globe. While this picture is a stark reminder of the impacts of COVID-19 both here and abroad for the industry, it also speaks to the adaptability and resilience we displayed in the face of a monumental challenge as the industry rallied together to support one another through the months ahead and these aircraft returned to the skies.

Antonov Airplane. Photocredit @eyetrapperyvr

Photo credit: @eyetrapperyvr

6. Cargo

No surprise here. Cargo played a huge role around the world and at YVR this year. This Antonov aircraft is capable of carrying more than 200 tonnes of cargo. Valuable cargo was transported around the world and this includes PPE, vaccines and of course recently, all the presents we were sending to our family and friends this past holiday season. Let’s give the people who help bring our essential goods to us, here and around the world, a big round of applause.

Hal and Joanne stand 6 feet apart

7. BodyBreak – Special YVR Edition

Making sure our community was getting the health and safety information they needed to stay safe was a big priority for 2020 and finding unique and creative ways to keep the message fresh was important. Which is why we're so proud (and pumped) to partner with two Canadian legends in Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod to help communicate the importance of health and safety practices. Any 80s kids who grew up with BodyBreak knows their commitment to health and safety hasn’t wavered over time. We also created custom post cards and thanked our frontline workers every chance we got.

Socially distanced Caretakers pose for a photo.

8. TAKEcare

YVR launched YVR TAKEcare in June – a health and safety program designed to help people move through our airport safely and with confidence. It places industry-leading health, safety and cleaning practices and protocols at the forefront of airport processes. One part of this program includes our Caretakers. This group of airport employees helps to ensure our passengers have everything they need to feel safe while travelling. The Caretaker team does everything from helping you find your way around the airport, ensuring hand sanitizer stations are well-stocked, to ensuring everyone has a face mask on. There’s no task too big or too small!

Tamara Vrooman

9. A New CEO

In July we welcomed a new leader to YVR as Tamara Vrooman joined Vancouver Airport Authority as President & CEO. Since joining YVR Tamara has championed our commitment to serving our community and led a provincial task force that aims to reinvigorate the tourism sector. Learn more about Tamara’s vision for the airport by reading these profiles in MONTECRISTO and Canadian Skies and also find out our approach to leading our region into the next economy by reading her strategy outlined here.

A photo of the new UV light attached to the BorderXpress kiosks

10. Innovation UV

Our Innovation team responded to some of the challenges created by COVID in the travel sector by doing what they do best – inventing new and creative ways to move passengers safely through airports. Their retro-fitted BorderXpress kiosks leveraged UV technology to ensure a clean and safe airport experience for all when they were installed in our arrivals hall. We recently worked with our Canadian airport partners in Edmonton to introduce the kiosks at YEG as well – all part of our approach to not only solving challenges here at home but working to improve the passenger experience for everybody.

ITAC CEO Keith Henry and YVR's CEO Tamara Vrooman hold up their signed agreements.


In September, YVR and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) signed an historic memorandum of understanding (MOU). It was a significant milestone in YVR’s commitment to serving communities across the country. It was the beginning of a new partnership that looks at how we can better support Canada’s culturally rich Indigenous tourism industry now and into the future.

A man in a high-visibility vest runs down the North Runway at YVR during the Terry Fox run.

12. Take Back 2020 – Terry Fox

This year has been tough, but we wanted to Take Back 2020. Our goal was to empower our community to find safe and creative ways to support activities that have been impacted by COVID. We started with a Terry Fox run on the North Runway for some employees, industry and community partners. The unique venue allowed us to safely distance and raise money for cancer research. You can learn more about other organizations we supported here.

WestJet Dreamliner pulls in to the gate

13. WestJet Dreamliner

It’s always really exciting when an airline brings a new aircraft to YVR. In October, WestJet’s newest 787 Dreamliner touched down at YVR for the very first time. Our friends and partners from Musqueam welcomed the new aircraft to the unceded territory of the Musqueam people with a traditional ceremony and cedar brushing.

A study participant sits down with a nurse to go over paperwork before the test begins.

14.The WestJet-YVR COVID-19 Testing Study

In November, YVR launched the WestJet-YVR COVID-19 Testing Study together with WestJet, UBC and Providence Health Care. This is the first study of its kind in Canada to investigate a method of COVID-19 rapid antigen testing to help inform the safest and most efficient way of testing departing passengers at YVR. Interested in participating? More info here.

French Bee

Photo credit: @onemoreweektogo

15. Lively Liveries

One of the unexpected outcomes of COVID was some of the new and unique aircraft and as a result liveries that made their way through YVR. We were visited by all sorts of new friends through 2020 including French Bee, Air Tahiti, Antonovs and China Southern flew their A380 weekly, the only A380 in service in the entire world at one point! While it may have been under less than ideal circumstances we always welcome new friends and the unique aircraft kept our plane spotting community on their toes throughout the year.

A man wears a prototype of a clear mask made to make mask wearing more accessible.

16. Making Waves

Another positive outcome has been the opportunity to partner with new and amazing community organizations who have identified important needs and areas of support for people needing assistance. One such partner is Wavefront, a local organization that supports the deaf and hard of hearing community. This photo promoting their clear mask initiative and prototypes was our most popular of the year on Instagram and speaks to the importance of making sure we remain focused on supporting our community.

Jat Puri smiles for the camera wearing a blue suit and red and blue striped tie.

17. We Are YVR

People are at the centre of everything we do here – that means not just our amazing community we serve but also the people who work on Sea Island and channel their passion and hard work to make YVR special. Jat Puri is one such person and the response to our profile of him as part of our We Are YVR blog series was proof that people want to get to know the smiling faces behind the masks at YVR. Look out for more of these profiles in 2021 as we profile the people behind the scenes who help connect BC proudly to the world.

Fairmont YVR

18. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

One of the few constants throughout 2020 was the unwavering support of the entire aviation community as we helped one another through the most difficult period in our history. This photo of the Fairmont lit up with a giant heart taken in April is the perfect depiction of the resiliency and heart our incredible YVR family showed through the year and reminds us that no matter what, there is an entire airport of amazing people behind us and here to serve the community no matter what the challenge is.

A group of people stand socially distanced, with masks on in front of a truck with all the hamper bags inside

19. Hamper Drive

Every year for the last 10 years YVR has been proud to work with Quest Food Exchange for our annual Holiday Hamper Drive. While we couldn’t have a big celebration and collection event inside the terminal like we typically do, we were still able to host a contactless hamper drop-off station outside on our departures curb. And, we are happy to announce that even in a pandemic year, our community pulled together and we were able to donate 429 full holiday meals for families in need. Additionally, through our 12 Days of Giving campaign we were able to award $10,000 grants to some amazing local groups like Hogan’s Alley, Hope Air, Camp Kerry, the LIFT Collective and many more! Learn more at yvr.ca/community.

washing hands

20. Environmental Management Plan (EMP)

Not even a pandemic can stop us from our vision to operate a world-class, sustainable airport. We are proud to be a leader in environmental stewardship. YVR develops a new EMP every five years and we published our new 2020-2024 plan this past March. A few of our commitments include reducing emissions and becoming carbon neutral in 2020, improving water use efficiency by 50 per cent per passenger, diverting 60 per cent of airport waste from landfill and continuing to enhance and protect Sea Island’s ecosystem. Learn more about our environmental journey at yvr.ca/environment.

Repatriation Plane pulling up to the gate

BONUS: Repatriation Flights

YVR was one of four airports in Canada to remain open to receive international flights throughout the pandemic, playing a vital role in moving essential goods and cargo but also supporting repatriation flights and bringing Canadians home from abroad.