Kelowna Airport passenger numbers continue to soar

Following an unprecedented number of passengers last year, the Kelowna International Airport is seeing the start of what might be another record breaking year in passenger numbers.

Airport Director Sam Samaddar says they had forecast a passenger growth of 3% for this year, but so far there's been an increase of about 10%.

“We saw January grow by just over 9% and our February numbers came in at just over 12%, so overall for the first two months we’ve grown at 10% over the record growth that we had in 2016”

Both January and February saw over 160,000 passengers make their way through the airport, beating the record of 149,574 and 144,063 for those months, respectively, set last year.

More connections to major cities and tourism promotions have contributed to the growth.

Samaddar says it’s a sign of what to expect for the rest of the year.

“We have some things going for us,” he says “The Canadian dollar compared to the U.S. dollar is still relatively weak and that entices more Americans to come to our location and it’ll also keep our Canadian folks traveling East-West as opposed to North-South”

Some areas of the airport are under pressure with the increased traffic. Samaddar says a plan for an airport expansion is in the works and improvements currently being done to the outbound baggage system and departure lounge are set to be complete by the fall.