Busiest month on record at YLW

The Kelowna International Airport had its busiest month on record in August, having hit the 200,000 passenger mark for the first time in its history.

While August was an extremely smoky month in Kelowna and caused several flight cancellations (including 35 flights over one weekend), it couldn’t stop a growth of 12.47 percent compared to last year’s August.

It was also the 33rd month in a row that the airport has set a year-to-year monthly record, and projections for the fall and winter months look to continue that trend.

Airport Director Sam Samaddar, attributes this growth to the new travel options that the airport recently began offering.

“Over the year, we’ve added more capacity in the marketplace in terms of both seats and commercial landings,” says Samaddar. “So we’ve had increased frequency of service to places like Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary, and we’ve got Flair Airlines on the market.”

Samaddar says this kind of growth can present its own challenges for the Airport to keep up with.

“We knew that, as part of the Airport’s Master Plan, that we would have aspects of our building that would become taxed, but there are ways of dealing with it operationally that we work through, and sometimes it means asking airlines to move the arrival or departure times of some of their aircraft when we’re at certain peak hours.”

At this rate, 2018 is expected to break the yearly passenger record for a second year in a row with an annual projection of 2 million passengers.