Airport traffic keeps escalating

Passenger numbers at Kelowna International Airport (YLW) soared ahead in 2010 with 1,391,725, passengers—a 1.76 per cent increase over 2009 and 0.13 per cent ahead of the record-setting number in 2008.

  • Jan. 20, 2011 6:00 p.m.

Passenger numbers at Kelowna International Airport (YLW) soared ahead in 2010 with 1,391,725, passengers—a 1.76 per cent increase over 2009 and 0.13 per cent ahead of the record-setting number in 2008.

“It was our goal in 2010 to reach the passenger levels of 2008,” said airport director Sam Samaddar. “I am very pleased to announce we achieved this, and in fact YLW had three all-time record-breaking months.”

July and December saw new monthly records, with 122,965 and 126,513 passengers respectively.

August became the busiest month in YLW’s history with 131,914 passengers—an increase of more than two per cent above the previous record month of March 2008.

At a time when many airports saw a decline in air service, YLW was able to maintain its current service levels including non-stop service by WestJet and Air Canada to Canada’s largest airport Toronto Pearson International.

It also increased additional same-plane service to more locations in Canada including Ottawa, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Regina. 

Mexico and Las Vegas scheduled service was increased to six months from four for the 2010-11 winter season.

The continuing growth in passengers and flights at YLW is driving the long-term airport development approved by Kelowna City Council in 2009—the Drive to 1.6 Million Development Program. 

The first phase of this development plan will launch in 2011 with the expansion of the international customs hall and improvements to the U.S. flight boarding processes. 

YLW participates in an ongoing customer satisfaction survey which benchmarks Kelowna International Airport against other airports. 

In 2010, YLW expanded its benchmark by participating in a biannual survey conducted by Airports Council International which compares YLW to 38 airports in its size category world-wide.

YLW achieved an overall satisfaction rating of 4.50 out of 5 (1 being poor and 5 excellent), and ranked second overall only to Boise International Airport in Idaho.

“2010 was a successful year,” says Samaddar. 

“Our staff, tenants and stakeholder groups have accomplished a great deal and we have all set our goals and objectives for 2011 to ensure YLW is Your Link to the World.

“As we move forward onto the next phases of the Drive to 1.6 Million Passengers program, 2011 promises to be an exciting year.”

To learn more about Kelowna International Airport, see

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