The popularity of Kelowna International Airport may be taking off but the cost of flying out of the local facility appears to be grounded.
An Internet website that specializes in finding travellers cheap airfares says the airport is the cheapest in Canada to fly out of.
Cheapflights.ca has published its annual Canadian Airport Affordability Index which ranks Canadian airports — and U.S. airports close to the border that Canadians regularly use — based on the average airfare found in August to popular destinations like Montreal, Miami, Los Angeles, London, Bangkok and Cancun.
This year, Kelowna jumped to second place on the index (from eighth in 2012), trailing only Bellingham in Washington State.
Kelowna was listed as the cheapest of the 17 Canadian airports on the 20-airport index, a list that included major Canadian airports such as Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport (13), Calgary International(15), Toronto’s Pearson International (17) and Vancouver International (19), as well as smaller facilities in London, Ontario (14) and Fort McMurray (16).
The average airfare out of Kelowna was listed at $432, while Bellingham’s average was $316. (All figures in Canadian dollars.) The top five was rounded out by Moncton at $436, Victoria at $441 and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport at $448. Vancouver’s average ticket price was $613.
Kelowna’s airport was the 12th busiest in Canada last year and this year is expected to handle more than 1.5 million passengers. Last month, the airport saw its millionth passenger pass through the terminal in 2013, the earliest that has ever occurred.
According to Cheapflights.ca, the “takeaway” from its 2013 index is that airfares are fluid and can vary from airport to airport so travellers need be creative and flexible when planning a trip. They must be ready to jump on a deal when they see one, added the website.