Kelowna International Airport (YLW) became San Francisco International Airport’s seventh Canadian destination and 84th North American destination when United Airlines commenced its daily year-round, non-stop United Express service Saturday.
SFO, known as the gateway to the Pacific, served 45 million domestic and international passengers in 2013, is the seventh largest airport in the U.S., and one of the world’s 30th busiest airports. United, together with United Express, operates nearly 300 flights a day from the airline’s SFO hub.
Saturday’s inaugural flight was a cause for celebration at Kelowna International.
“San Francisco is a great destination,” said airport director Sam Samaddar.
“It provides travellers better connection points to many more U.S. cities, as well, the San Francisco Bay area is a great region to visit.”
Representatives from Tourism Kelowna were on hand to welcome the inaugural flight.
On board, the 50-seat aircraft included five Bay area travel writers who came in for a familiarization tour of Kelowna.
“Generating travel articles and blog posts allows us to showcase Kelowna and the Okanagan to many thousands of readers,” said Tourism Kelowna CEO Nancy Cameron.
“We know that readers in the Bay area will be very intrigued by our beautiful destination and will want to jump on the United flight so they can explore for themselves.”
In addition, two travel directors from the Bay Area Snow Sports Council also took the opportunity to tour the Okanagan and were expected to report back to the more than 30 ski clubs in the Bay area regarding the Okanagan Valley as a possible ski holiday.
The new daily service is expected to meet the travel needs of those involved in the Okanagan Valley’s growing technology industry.