YLW regains top-10 position
Kelowna’s airport leapfrogs Victoria’s on list of Canada’s busiest airports
The Okanagan Weekend
Kelowna’s airport has made a triumphant return to the top 10.
After a seven-year absence from the list of Canada’s 10 busiest airports, Kelowna International rejoined the club in 2018.
After several years hovering just off the list at No. 11, Kelowna’s airport leapfrogged Victoria International Airport into 10th place.
“Surpassing two million passengers and reaching top 10 this past year are incredible accomplishments for YLW and the Okanagan,” said airport director Sam Samaddar.
“It is an exciting time for YLW. We are in a period of tremendous growth, and the increase in travellers translates directly to a boost in the economy and support for local businesses.”
The airport’s growth can be attributed to more non-stop flights, better connectivity in hubs like Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Seattle and Toronto, Kelowna’s population growth, a healthy local economy, and status as a regional airport for the Southern Interior.
Last year, for the first time, the airport saw more than two million passengers come and go. The annual count was boosted to 2,080,372 passengers by heavy Christmas travel and non-stop flights to sun destinations Phoenix, Cuba, Cabo San Lucas, Cancun and Puerto Vallarta.
December was YLW’s biggest month ever with 210,926 passengers departing and arriving, followed by August at 201,485.
In fact, every month in 2018 was a record-breaker, with increases ranging from three to 10 per cent more than 2017.
The 2.08 million is a 31 per cent increase, or 486,799 more passengers, over the past three years.
The most flown routes are between Kelowna and Vancouver and Kelowna and Calgary, with 15 and 11 flights daily, respectively.
There are also non-stops to Victoria, Whitehorse, Edmonton, Cranbrook, Prince George, Seattle and Toronto.
The last time Kelowna was in the top 10 was 2010, when it was sandwiched between Victoria at No. 9 and St. John’s at No. 11.
Most other years, Kelowna held down the No. 11 spot, except for 2012, when it dropped to No. 13 behind Victoria at No. 10, St. John’s at No. 11 and Quebec City at No. 12.