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Live Here, Work There: Mike, Road Warrior

Mike the road warriorMeet Mike Tedeschi. Mike is a geologist and he lives here in Vancouver where he consults for global mining exploration firms.  Mike is a road warrior, a commuting champion. But unlike your commute, which may include the SeaBus, Canada Line or the Lions Gate Bridge, Mike commutes by air through YVR to work in the Yukon. 

A typical work week for Mike – and hundreds of other YVR road warriors – may include a two-week stint at a northern mine followed by four to five days back in the big city, and that cycle continues month after month.

Without air connections, businesses in the North would find it difficult to attract skilled people.  The Mining Association of B.C. forecasts that it will need almost 17,000 workers in the next 10 years. 

Air service through YVR gives Canada’s resource industry a bigger, more attractive pool from which to hire skilled people.  

This will come as no surprise to many of you, but the mining sector is important to B.C. — contributing 2% of the province’s GDP. Did you know that YVR contributes 1%? Airport activity alone is half as big as mining.

At YVR, we strive to make travel for road warriors like Mike, who need to get to work fast - efficient, pleasant and safe. 

However, a huge factor in getting travellers like Mike from the parking lot to the plane in a timely fashion is pre-board security screening.    

The Airport Authority doesn’t control security screening.  CATSA (Canadian Air Transport Security Authority) is in charge of that.

I worked at YVR when CATSA was first introduced, and after much national debate the promise was that the government would take money from passengers - in the form of a tax on the ticket - to provide the screening service.

The local CATSA team here at YVR does its best, but now their budgets are being cut and passengers like Mike are starting to feel the effects. We need the government to provide more funding, not less, in order to keep its promise and continue investing in this essential service, especially to keep up with our expected growth.

If these cuts continue, our fear is that time-pressed road warriors like Mike (and many others) will be stuck in line-ups and bags won’t make planes. This is not an ideal scenario when you’re trying to grow as a global hub,  and remain competitive.

While south-of-the-border airports like Bellingham and SEATAC can sometimes beat us on price, they can’t beat us on service. So fast and efficient CATSA screening is a very important competitive issue for us – and for the road warriors that rely on us. 

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