Kelowna to see first wide-body service

An Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767 departs Vancouver International Airport in July 2019 (photo: Brett Ballah).

Kelowna, a city of about 200,000 people in the vacation heartland of British Columbia, will see its first-ever wide-body passenger service this summer.

The airport announced Wednesday that Air Canada plans Boeing 767-300 service to Toronto aboard its discount Rouge brand. The aircraft feature 282 seats, a 40% capacity increase over 2019.

“We’re proud to welcome the Boeing 767 aircraft to YLW, as it means additional capacity to Toronto, the United States and more opportunities to connect to destinations across the globe,” said Sam Samaddar, Airport Director, Kelowna International Airport.

Kelowna is a popular summer playground destination, nestled in the Okanagan Valley and on Lake Okanagan, featuring hot, dry summers.

Westjet operates a daily non-stop red-eye flight from Kelowna to Toronto over the summer, and both Canadian ultra low-cost carriers – Swoop and Flair – will serve the city through the summer.

The airport served 2 million passengers in 2019, slightly less than the year before. It is the 10th-busiest airport in the country, having surpassed Victoria for the first time last year.

“This additional capacity to Toronto is one example of how we are working to accommodate larger aircraft at YLW and provide residents with more non-stop flights,” said Samaddar.

The airport announced a $67 million expansion in December to double the size of the existing departures lounge, expand security screening, and provide more retail, food and beverage options. It will also expand the apron to accommodate more and larger aircraft, and add new airside equipment.

Airport2018 passengers2019 passengers
Abbotsford, B.C.842,212*1,008,176*
Charlottetown, P.E.I.370,730*383,183*
Fredericton, N.B.423,234*427,085*
Kamloops, B.C.351,631361,586*
Kelowna, B.C.2,080,372*2,032,144
Moncton, N.B.681,473*674,406
Nanaimo, B.C.435,394
Prince George, B.C.506,486
Quebec City1,774,841*
Saskatoon1,518,980*1,490,000 (est.)
Thunder Bay869,404*
Winnipeg4,500,000* (estimate)4,500,000 (est.)
* – record (sources: airport reports)

To fund the expansion, Kelowna City Council – the airport’s owner – increased Airport Improvement Fees by $5, to $25 for each departing passenger.

Kelowna International is the busiest city-owned airport in the country. Construction is expected to take three years, and when it’s done, the new facility will be able handle up to 2.5 million passengers a year.

Categories: Kelowna

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