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Kelowna airport director honoured to chair North American division of airports council

Click to play video: 'Kelowna airport director honoured to chair North American division of airports council' Kelowna airport director honoured to chair North American division of airports council
Kelowna airport director honoured to chair North American division of airports council – Jan 13, 2022

From the emergency operations centre, Kelowna International Airport director Sam Samaddar surveys an outgoing flight.

“How are we doing here?” Samaddar inquires casually.

“Our Puerto Vallarta flight, our first one, is just about to depart,” replies his staff.

Even during the pandemic, the airport is trying its best to live up to its billing as ‘your link to world.’

READ MORE: Kelowna airport director elected as chair of Airports Council International

For 30 years, Samaddar has been responsible for helping grow and strengthen the Okanagan’s link to the world by overseeing what he calls a ‘small city.’

“Everything that a city needs to run its operations, and (it also) has this other complicating factor, which is aircraft that come and go,” said Samaddar.

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By all accounts, Samaddar has done a stand-up job in piloting the airport during the last three decades.

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“Our international airport is one of the hubs for a strong economy,” Kelowna mayor Colin Basran told Global News.

“Our economy grows, as does the airport, and that is a reflection of all of the great work Sam and his team do YLW.”

This month, the airline industry recognized Samaddar’s leadership and chose the YLW director to chair the Airports International Council – North America.

“It’s an honour to be chosen by your colleagues to represent our industry, and, of course, we are facing some very difficult times,” Samaddar said.

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The Airports International Council – North America (AICNA) is an advocacy group that describes itself as the ‘voice’ of the airport business.

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Samaddar’s appointment to the council is as challenging as it is prestigious as the airline industry attempts to navigate the pandemic.

“The public’s expectation is to have a seamless travel experience, and we are nowhere close to that today,” Samaddar said.

The Okanagan resident says his focus as chair will be to help the airport industry recover by making travel requirements more uniform, especially when it comes to COVID-19.

“We need to work out the logistics of all of that on a global basis,” he said, “so that we have documentation that is seamless for the traveller.”

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