January 11, 2019 4:39 pm

Kelowna cracks top-10 list of national airports

Kelowna International Airport announced on Friday that more than two million passengers walked through its doors in 2018, making it the 10th busiest airport in Canada. Here, people lined up on Old Vernon Road to watch a privately owned 747 jumbo jet land at the airport.

Global News

With more flights coming and going on a daily basis, Kelowna International Airport is a busy place.

So busy, in fact, that it’s now one of Canada’s top-10 airports. This, despite one website ranking the Central Okanagan as just the 22nd largest region in the nation with an approximate population of 195,000.

On Friday, the airport announced that its passenger total for 2018 was an all-time high of 2,080,372, up 31 per cent from 2015. Cracking the two-million mark also placed Kelowna as having the 10th busiest airport in Canada.

WATCH BELOW: (Aired Dec. 24, 2018) Kelowna International Airport celebrates two million passengers

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“Surpassing 2 million passengers and reaching top 10 this past year are incredible accomplishments for YLW and the Okanagan,” said airport director Sam Samaddar.

“It’s an exciting time for YLW. We are in a period of tremendous growth and the increase in travellers translates directly to a boost in the economy and support for local businesses.”

According to YLW, since 2015, Kelowna has experienced unprecedented passenger growth, driven partly by expanded air service and flight connectivity, population growth, and regional economic activity.

To accommodate this growth, YLW is expanding the airport and plans to invest more than $240 million in new airport infrastructure and the rehabilitation of existing airport facilities between 2019 and 2020.

READ MORE: Parking fees to rise at Kelowna International Airport

According to the airport:

  • December was YLW’s busiest month ever with 210,926 passengers passing through the doors, with August in second at 201,485 passengers.
  • In 2018, 486,766 more passengers passed through YLW compared to 2015.
  • The busiest routes at YLW are Vancouver and Calgary.
  • YLW’s total economic impact is 4,545 jobs and $789 million in total economic output to the province of British Columbia.
  • YLW offers more than 70 daily non-stop commercial flights with nine airline partners.
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