Kelowna International Airport’s 2045 master plan introduced to shoppers

When airport officials ask what changes are needed at the regional flight hub, a couple points are continually raised.

Kelowna International Airport director Sam Samaddar was at Orchard Park mall this week sharing the 2045 Master Plan

When airport officials ask what changes are needed at the regional flight hub, a couple points are continually raised.

“Over and over again we’ve heard about preboard screening —the lineups associated with that can be heavy— and  people say they want to see airplanes arrive,” said Sam Samaddar Kelowna International Airport’s director, Saturday, at a display of airport’s 2045 Master Plan in Orchard Park mall on Saturday.

“These are things we’ve looked at, but  we need to pay closer attention to them.”

Paying attention to the needs and interests of the people who use the airport is what brought Samaddar and other airport representatives to the mall.

“We did an open house earlier this year, but we felt we wanted to reach out to the broader community and this location gave us an opportunity to do that” he said.

By mid morning, nearly Samaddar and his team had fielded nearly 300 people who wanted to learn more about the airport’s future plans and offer feedback.

“It’s gone really well. We’ve had a tremendous response to our plans,” he said.

Those plans touch all aspects of the airport, but the change that users are most likely to notice inn the months to come will be to the lobby.

“We’re working on the centre core of the building and (by the end of 2017)  the Air Canada and Alaska Air lobby will increase in depth,” said Samaddar, noting its part of the original terminal that was built in 1967.

The outbound baggage system will come online sooner, but that’s a big building that the public won’t see.

YLW serves 1.6 million passengers annually, a 6.5 per cent increase since 2013. The airport generates benefits not only for Kelowna, but also beyond its boundaries to the entire Thompson Okanagan.

With such a high growth rate comes the need to plan for future aviation requirements. The new master plan will guide the development of YLW out to 2045 and will be instrumental in its drive to become the “best mid-sized airport in North America.”

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