New airline Swoops into Kelowna

New ultra-low cost carrier to provide non-stop service to Winnipeg, Vegas

A new ultra-low fare airline swooped into Kelowna Friday.

Calgary-based airline Swoop will now be offering direct flights from Kelowna to Winnipeg and, starting on June 27, Las Vegas.

Swoop’s senior communications advisor Karen McIsaac said the company has been eyeing Kelowna and the Okanagan since the company was established in 2018.

“Kelowna is a key market,” she said. “It’s great for tourism, obviously in the summer, and we know there’s a lot of people who have family across the country, so to be able to tap into both of those — the family connections and the leisure tourism markets — it’s a no brainer.”

READ MORE: Swoop brings cheap flights from Kelowna to Las Vegas

READ MORE: New ultra-low-priced airline announced for Kelowna

Kelowna airport director Sam Samaddar said they’re proud to welcome a new ultra-low cost carrier to YLW.

“Having Swoop in Kelowna is a great opportunity for the Okanagan, as it gives travellers more options to fly, and explore other parts of Canada this summer,” he said.

YLW is one of Canada’s fasted growing airports for domestic travel. In 2018, a record-breaking total of 2,080,372 passengers flew in and out of Kelowna’s airport — a 31 per cent increase over the past three years.

Direct flights to Winnipeg can start as low as $87 and McIsaac said she heard from people with roots in Manitoba that were thrilled about the addition.

READ MORE: Very big plane lands at Kelowna’s airport

“We are enabling you to travel for reasons you wouldn’t have otherwise,” McIsaac said about the ultra-low cost model. “But most importantly, we’re connecting families. There are so many families travelling on our flights, and we didn’t know what to expect, but that’s what we’re seeing and it just feels really, really good.”

“(The) non-stop service that makes going home for the weekend part of your lifestyle choice now, instead of something you have to plan,” she said.

“You can do it on a whim and we’ll be there to take you there safely and back.”

The three-times weekly flights to Winnipeg operates on a modern Boeing 737-800 aircraft with 189 seats and service is scheduled to operate until October 25.

The first of many Swoop planes, donned with bright pink lettering, landed just before noon at the Kelowna International Airport and was welcomed with a water canon salute.

Swoop guests were greeted by McIsaac, Samaddar and the Loose Moose mascot from Big White Ski Resort. Mugs were handed out as thank-you gifts and small toys were available for younger flyers.

READ MORE: Federal government invests in Kelowna International Airport

Caitlin Clow
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
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