An indoor forest for Vancouver Int’l Airport

(Note: I’m filling in on USA TODAY’s Today in the Sky blog this week. My story about Vancouver Airport first appeared there).

Like so many North American airports, Vancouver International (YVR) is looking forward to accommodating more travelers, more airlines and larger planes.

The airport, which was crowned Best Airport in America in the 2016 Skytrax World Airport Awards (for a record seventh consecutive year), served more than 22 million passengers in 2016 and expects to welcome more than 35 million passengers a year by 2037.

To get ready, the airport is fine-tuning a phased $5.6 billion “Flight Plan” that includes a variety of proposed amenities that were shared with the public last week.

“This plan is built to provide for the long-term capacity needs at YVR, while meeting and enhancing our sustainability goals and ensuring we build in an incremental fashion” said Craig Richmond, President & CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority, speaking at a Greater Vancouver Board of Trade event.

As part of a terminal expansion, YVR is investigating the idea of adding a new geothermal plant that will greatly reduce the airport’s greenhouse gas emissions, an added plane spotting location and, inside the terminal, expanded food options and restaurant experiences and the addition of sleeping pods and showers for those with long layovers.

Vancouver’s airport already has an award-winning art program that highlights British Columbia’s landscape and people and includes two large aquariums and a public Observation Area with giant windows and great views. But to bring more of the West Coast beauty into the terminal, the Flight Plan proposes to add an indoor glassed-in forest that is open at the top.

YVR posted an animated “Fly Through” on Twitter showing what the forested international terminal may look like in the future.

“Looks beautiful!” wrote Andre Velez in response, suggesting the airport send their designers to fix “eyesore airports like Newark and LaGuardia.”

Polite Canadians that they are, YVR’s Twitter response: “Our pals at @lgacentral are doing big things down there. Bright future.”

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