Kelowna International Airport has reached it’s target of handling 1.6 million passengers per year one year early.
Airport director Sam Samaddar told Kelowna city council during its annual budget deliberations Thursday that the 1.6 million passengers mark was passed in late 2014. It was originally estimated that figure would be reached in 2016. It was also the benchmark for a new round of expansion at the airport.
According to the airport administration, YLW will handle 2.4 million passengers by 2025. Last year airport passenger traffic grew by 6.5 per cent, said Samaddar.
As part of its 2015 budget, council included a $44.6 million plan to growth at the airport over the next 10 years, with $5.34 million funded by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority and $39.315M
from airport improvement fees. The AIF at the airport will remain at $15.
The program, expected to be completed by 2018, will include include: mandated security enhancements, air carrier/tenant design requests, terminal enhancements, an upgrades and expansion of one runway apron, expansion to the restricted area at the airport, relocation of ground services facilities, glycol and potassium acetate storage relocation, upgrades to the Combined Operations Building, NAV Aid runway 34 and runway end safety area, as well as the airfield and apron lighting system
Departures room enhancements in the terminal upgrades to the parking lots will also be made and new terminal equipment bought.
Samaddar said he expects to spend about $15 million of the total this year.
The Kelowna International Airport, owned by the city, is financially self-sustaining and does not rely city tax revenue for its operation.