International airport preparing for increased passenger traffic

Facility paving runway as it expects 1.6 million visitors by 2015

ALISTAIR WATERS

Black Press

Think of it as road resurfacing for planes.

Work will begin on Kelowna International Airport’s runway this summer, with 7,300 feet of the airport’s 8,900-foot runway being repaved as a part of the airport’s “Drive to 1.6” passenger development program.

The program is preparing the airport for handling 1.6 million passengers, which is expected to occur in 2015.

So far this year, the airport has set records each month for passenger numbers and is currently running 4.5 per cent ahead of where it was at this time last year.

In 2011, the airport saw 1.4 million passengers pass through the terminal.

According to airport officials, with safety being the top priority at YLW, the airport conducts annual maintenance filling cracks and potential holes in the runway. But it has been 26 years since a complete rejuvenation of the runway has occurred, so the $4 million repaving project will take place over the next 12 weeks.

“Our runway is used by 62 commercial daily flights serving 1.4 million passengers annually, in addition more than 100 cargo, maintenance and private aircraft uses can occur daily,” said airport director Sam Samaddar.