Vancouver poised for global hub status

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Vancouver airport is well positioned to become a "global portal", says Boyd Group International chairman Michael Boyd.

The airport benefits from expanding traffic between Canada and the USA and being a convenient gateway to the Americas for Asian carriers, says Boyd at the at the Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit in Dallas.

He says that the Boyd Group's analysis points to an increase in transborder traffic between Canada and the USA during the next five years, with the majority of that growth occurring on Canadian airlines. Air Canada and WestJet have hubs in Vancouver.

For international connections, Canadian regulations allow foreign travellers to transit through its airports without having to enter the country. This is not the case in the USA, where all arriving passengers must pass through immigration before proceeding to connecting flights - even if those flights are bound for points outside the country.

Houston's George Bush Intercontinental airport could be a convenient global Star Alliance hub says Boyd, however, US visa regulations limit its growth.

"For the time being, the best way to flow traffic from South America to China is through North American points," says Chi Zhihang, vice president and general manager for North America at Air China, at the summit.

Vancouver, which the Star Alliance member already serves, could benefit from this fact as the Chinese carrier seeks to expand operations in South America. Air China and Air Canada are fellow alliance members and codeshare partners.

Oneworld member Cathay Pacific Airways already connects passengers between Asia and New York's John F. Kennedy airport through Vancouver.