From more convenient parking and faster security screening to bussing on the tarmac to board some flights, the travel experience is about to change at YVR.

“YVR is the fastest growing international airport in North America,” said Craig Richmond, CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority, “I have to tell you, nobody expected this rapid growth.”

The airport had 24 million passengers pass through it in 2017, and it’s expecting an extra five million more per year by 2020.

"We're seeing planes 91 per cent full to Europe and 86 per cent full to Latin America," said Richmond.

To accommodate those loads, a three-year $1.7 billion expansion plan has been approved, and Richmond is leading the charge.

Four new gates are being added for wide body aircraft and an extension to a new D Terminal will include seating for 2,000, natural light and vegetation.

“That part of the terminal is ready to open up in May 2020,” explained Richmond.

Before those gates open, electric buses will take passengers on a four minute ride to their plane parked on the tarmac. It was tried last summer and now four ‘remote’ gates will be added, with covered ramps for passengers to board with carry-on luggage.

“We don’t want this to be a negative experience,” said Richmond, “It’s easy to drag your bag up. It’s easy to walk up if you have mobility issues. It’s a lot better than the old stairs.”

And when you land, the bus will take you right to the back of customs.

To speed up security screening there will be improved high-tech systems that are said to put you through two to three times faster than the old security screening points.

"All of international will be done by the summer and then we'll be doing other screening points in domestic and trans-border as fast as we can," Richmond explained.

More than 100 new self-serve kiosks have also been added to speed people through Customs, and with the eDeclaration app you can even use your phone for faster access by adding the information into your phone before you land.

There are also a lot of changes for parking. The value lot near the terminal is closing February 28 to make room for construction of a new six storey parkade, with an electronic guidance system to help you park. In the meantime, a new lot at Templeton Station will open on March 1st offering up 2,000 spots at $15 a day, as well as many spots for the disabled. Free charging stations have also been added for electric vehicles.

When you pay for parking, you can hop on the Canada Line for free and you have direct access to YVR just two stops away.

If you park at JetSet parking you’ll see some changes too. The JetSet parking will be eliminating 2,000 stalls to make way to park 10 aircraft for bussing operations. The lot will also be converted to a valet style model, to allow for more cars to be parked.

How are they paying for all this?

Every time you fly, a $20 airport improvement fee is added to the ticket price. Those screening kiosks that have been added to Customs have also turned out to be a money maker. YVR Airport Authority owns the design and rights and they are so popular that 1,300 have been sold to other airports in North America.