Kelowna's airport celebrates sky-high passenger numbers

Kelowna's airport surpassed 1.5 million passengers for the first time in 2013.
— image credit: Capital News file

New destinations, new airlines and growing passenger numbers have made 2013 a record-breaking year for Kelowna's airport.

“This has been a tremendous year for the YLW community,” said airport director Sam Samaddar.  “We have a record number of airlines serving our region to a record number of destinations and we had each of the 12 months reach record breaking numbers.”

In 2013, Air North and Pacific Coastal Airlines both added the airport to their route maps, while Abbottsford, Whitehorse, Cranbrook and Ixtapa/Zihautanejo, Mexico, became new destinations for YLW passengers.

“Two new air carriers, four new destinations and more partnerships with our travel and business stakeholders have helped YLW serve over 1.5 million passengers in 2013,” said Samaddar.

With every month last year breaking all-time highs  in terms of passenger numbers at the airport, YLW saw 1,503,288 passengers pass through its terminal in 2013, a 4.11 per cent increase over the 2012 total and 8.14 per cent ahead of 2011.

“August was once again the busiest month of the year with 143,555 passengers using YLW, which was 5.5 per cent ahead of August 2012," said Samaddar. "December was the second busiest month with 136,145 passengers.”

Last year began with the addition of United Airlines service to Los Angeles, inaugurated a few weeks earlier on Dec. 18, 2012. In April, Northwestern Air began service to Abbotsford. In June Air North started what was planed to be seasonal service to Whitehorse. But thanks to stronger than expected passenger loads and success in the market, it announced the service was being changed to year-round.

In November, Pacific Coastal Airlines announced flights between the Kelowna and the Cranbrook in the Kootenays, and Sunwing Airlines offered a new destination to winter sun seekers to Ixtapa/Zihautanejo Mexico.

YLW now has more than 60 daily non-stop commercial flights with Air Canada, Air North, Alaska Airlines, Central Mountain Air, Northwestern Air, Pacific Coastal Airlines, WestJet and United Airlines connecting Kelonwa to Vancouver, Victoria, Abbotsford, Cranbrook, Prince George, Whitehorse, Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Toronto, Seattle, and Los Angeles, plus seasonal service to Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, and Cancun, and sun destination charter services by Transat Holidays and Sunwing to Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Ixtapa/Zihautanejo Mexico.


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