More parking at Victoria International Airport, but arrive early this holiday season

Travellers planning to park at Victoria International Airport this holiday season should add an extra 30 minutes to their pre-flight timetable “just in case,” says the facility’s president.

The logistics are all in place.

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Extra Robbins Parking staff will be on hand to direct drivers to specific spots. They’ll provide “one-on-one” service,” said Geoff Dickson, airport president and chief executive.

Maps will be handed out. Lots will have their own staff to help motorists. A shuttle bus will carry passengers between west-side lots and the terminal.

A new lot with an additional 506 new spaces has just been constructed (increasing capacity by 20 per cent over 2017).

But because we are heading into a peak travel period, Dickson recommends a half-hour cushion in case the parking process takes a little time.

Starting about Dec. 20, he expects the airport to get extra busy.

The airport and its parking capacity have grown in recent years as passenger numbers set annual records. This year, two million passengers are expected to pass through the airport.

More vehicles are arriving at the airport than in the past.

A typical day brings 1,500 vehicles.

The winter holiday season can deliver 2,500 vehicles daily, Dickson said.

If established lots are full when drivers arrive, there is still plenty of land available for parking. It is considered long-term parking by the airport. Drivers pay in advance for those spots.

In the past five years, the airport has spent $17 million on parking improvements and road alignments.

A $19.4-million expansion to boost capacity of the airport’s ground-level departure lounge was also rolled out this year.

Back in 2005, there were about 700 parking spaces at the airport. By 2011, the number increased to 1,200. Today, there are about 2,600, Dickson said.

The core area, closest to the terminal has 1,600 spaces.

Victoria International Airport’s parking numbers illustrate its growth as it plays a critical role in the region’s economic growth and development. The property includes not only the airport but a wide range of related and manufacturing businesses.

Holiday travelling tips from the airport include checking in online in advance and making sure you know what is and is not permitted in carry-on baggage.

Remember that electronic equipment being carried on will be checked to show that it works.

Bring needed documents for yourself and any children. Put identification tags inside luggage, and attach on the outside as well. Gift-wrapped items are best packed in checked baggage.

For more tips, go to: victoriaairport.com /news/2018/holiday-travel-tips.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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