YLW passenger rates down 96 percent


YLW’s numbers are way down and that’s not surprise considering COVID-19 has shut down most international and domestic air travel.

According to Kelowna International Airport Director Sam Samaddar, their passenger rates are down 96 percent compared to a year ago.

“It’s going to be a long recovery period. Simply because we’ve been down at a very low level and will be for three to four months before we start to see an uptick in traffic. So we’re projecting based on the work that we’ve done that we wont come back to our 2019 levels, that’s where we handled two million passengers, until probably the winter of 2023, 2024.”

Samaddar anticipates the airport will service around 750,000 passengers by years end,  reflecting numbers seen in 1997.

“The airport is an economic generator for the broader community and so what we’ve seen at the airport is that huge impact. We look at things like the hotel industry, tourism and other businesses like restaurants, it has had huge impact in all those areas and its very very evident with the decline in traffic that we have."

YLW is currently supplying eight flights a day between Vancouver and Calgary.

Samaddar said that changes next month as the airport and its partners work towards increasing traffic safely.

“We are seeing a reemergence. In June the airport will move to 22 flights a day  with more capacity on flights to and from Calgary, Vancouver, Prince George, Victoria, Cranbrook and Edmonton."