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MPs call for international flights to resume at Kelowna, B.C. airport

Click to play video: 'MP’s calling for international flights to resume at YLW'
MP’s calling for international flights to resume at YLW
MP’s calling for international flights to resume at YLW – Oct 28, 2021

Two Members of Parliament are calling upon the federal government for clarity regarding resuming international flights at Kelowna International Airport.

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray and Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola MP Dan Albas have been vocal expressing the need for international flights to resume service for the region.

“I’ve heard from communities in the Similkameen Valley, for example Keremeos and Princeton, who have both contacted me with concerns. I met with the mayor and council of West Kelowna this week specifically about YLW. All we’ve heard from Transport Canada is that everything will be fixed in due course,” said Albas.

The shutdown of international flights has severely impacted the tourism sector, according to Albas.

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“I’ve heard from people that offer tourism and accommodations that say they’ve had (customers) say ‘sorry’. Time is money and (the customers) don’t want to take different flights to get to their destinations,” said Albas.

“Some long-time visitors, who come every year, are choosing to go elsewhere.”

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray said there have been inconsistencies with which Canadian airports have been given international flights.

“YLW has higher volumes than some of the other airports they have granted,” said Gray.

“If the government is not able to give the rationale (on which airports get chosen), they should immediately allow Kelowna International Airport an international designation.”

Kelowna International Airport officials said the resumption of international flights is critical for economic recovery from the pandemic.

“There is a direct impact (of no international flights) and to the airport itself. We are going to lose $2.5 million in direct revenue and then you spin off that and our partners in the community, who rely on tourism, the hotels, the restaurants, all of those folks who rely on that during the winter period, they lose that business,” said Sam Samadar, Kelowna International Airport’s director.

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Transport Canada did not respond in time for broadcast and has not given a responses to the two MP’s questions about YLW.

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