YLW re­gains top-10 po­si­tion

Kelowna’s air­port leapfrogs Vic­to­ria’s on list of Canada’s busiest air­ports

The Daily Courier - - OKANAGAN - By STEVE MacNAULL

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.


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