YLW upgrades taking place
Upgrades to Kelowna International Airport (YLW)’s Instrument Landing System (ILS) are now underway. This system is responsible for providing aircraft guidance to the runway. These upgrades are necessary as part of NAV CANADA’s National ILS Replacement Program and work is expected to be complete at the end of September.
While construction takes place the system will be offline and the airport will operate with satellite guidance. "Based on the technology onboard various aircraft, they may or may not be able to use the satellite system, if they don't have the technology in the cockpit," explains YLW Airport Director, Sam Samaddar. Poor weather conditions, such as fog or heavy smoke, in conjunction with the system outage, could affect flights at YLW. In some cases, flights could be diverted to other airports or cancelled, during low visibility days. "Originally we had planned to do this in August and we're lucky we didn't because we would've been in much tougher conditions," Samaddar says, referencing the thickness of the wildfire smoke in the region.
Kelowna International is one of the last airports in Canada to complete the upgrade. The delay was caused because the airport anticipates a new regulation coming in the next 3-4 years that would require the ILS to be moved again, so work has been done over the last few months to install the ILS in the spot where it was eventually going to end up. The airport expects to add a Runway End Safety Area once the new regulations are created. Samaddar says the safety changes stem from, "An Air France crash in Toronto, about 10 years ago.” Once constructed the new area will create an airbag-type of safety measure for planes experiencing difficulty stopping, or landing short of the runway.
Passengers flying through YLW in September are advised to check the status of their flight before arriving at the airport.