Photo submitted December was the busiest month ever at Kelowna International Airport.

Kelowna airport celebrates two-millionth passenger

The airport is implementing a 10 year development program in 2019

Today, Kelowna International Airport (YLW) welcomed its record-setting two-millionth annual passenger to travel through the terminal in 2018.

Since 2015, YLW has experienced unprecedented passenger growth, which can be attributed to population growth in the region and expanded air service and flight connectivity.

As the largest municipally owned and operated airport, YLW is one of the single largest economic drivers for jobs and revenues in B.C.’s southern region. YLW also supports more than 4,545 jobs and produces $789 million in total economic output to the province of British Columbia.

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“Reaching two million passengers this year is an incredible achievement for YLW and the Okanagan,” said Sam Samaddar, airport director. “This truly is a community celebration. We could not have reached this milestone without the help of our airport tenants, airline and tourism partners, stakeholders, and of course — our passengers.”

In 2005, YLW served one million passengers—47 years after the first flight departed from the runway. A mere 13 years later, YLW is celebrating two million passengers, and is anticipating serving 3.5 million passengers annually by 2045.

RELATED: Kelowna airport improvement fee rising again

To keep up with growth, YLW is embarking on a planned 10-year, $183 million development program beginning in 2019, which includes: expansion of the terminal with a larger departures lounge, relocation and expansion of the domestic arrivals area, expanded security screening and more food and beverage services, as well as rehabilitation of the airside pavement including the runway, the addition of two passenger loading bridges, additional firefighting and snow clearing equipment, and a self-serve baggage drop.

This expansion is expected to bring more jobs to the region over the next decade.

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