Passengers who fly out of the Okanagan’s largest airport will be paying more starting April 1.
On Monday, city council approved an improvement fee increase for Kelowna International Airport.
“It’s going to be increasing by $5 from $15 per departing passenger to $20 per departing passenger,” said Shayne Dyrdal, the airport’s senior and corporate services manager.
Dyrdal said the hike is necessary to help pay for expansion projects, as the airport is growing at a much faster pace than anticipated.
2018 saw unprecedented passenger numbers, reaching more than 2.8 million, a number that wasn’t expected until 2020.
The rapid growth has prompted the airport to fast-track expansion work to keep up with demand.
“There’s over 10 different projects we plan to implement,” Dyrdal told Global News. “The first one being the departures lounge . . . we’re just seeing during peak periods, it’s getting quite congested.”
Dyrdal said once the work is complete, the departures lounge will be double what it is now.
The expansion project will also involve increasing the arrivals area and providing more commercial space.
“The domestic arrivals area would move to the south and it would also double in comparison to the floor space that we see now,” Dyrdal said. “We will see an increase in the offerings for food and beverage both on the air side and ground side so pre-security and post-security.”
The pre-board screening area is also slated for expansion work.
The airport improvement fee is added onto a passenger’s ticket price.
The airport anticipates seeking approval for another increase in 2020.