The Kelowna International Airport (YLW) has seen a drop in passenger traffic due to COVID-19 concerns. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

‘Dramatic change’: YLW traffic drops to less than 1,000 passengers a day

The airport’s director said 6,000 passengers went through before pandemic

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kelowna International Airport (YLW) saw up to 6,000 passengers a day and about 96 flights a day.

Now, less than a thousand passengers go through the airport, with only 22 flights a day, according to airport director Sam Samaddar.

It’s quite a change from what they were used to before and Samaddar said it keeps changing every day, and they’re expecting more changes will come.

“It’s a dramatic change in the last two to three weeks as flights have downscaled,” he said.

“Right now, for the most part, we’re serving a domestic market and others who have to travel for business reasons.”

He said they have seen layoffs of between 50 to 80 per cent of the staff, from their airline partners, car rentals at the airport, to the food and beverage outlets, as the industry tries to deal with the current situation.

As for safety, Samaddar said they have closed all self-service kiosks and have put down tape on the floor to indicate how far apart people should stand from each other. Messaging about hygiene is also regularly played over the airport’s loudspeakers.

“With our international flights coming out of Seattle, we do have customs officers who are briefing and interviewing passengers. They’re doing a written declaration and as of today, the airline staff are now asking passengers a series of questions about their health in order to refuse anyone from getting on board who might be sick.”

Samaddar added that they’re taking it day by day and dealing with the changes as they come.

READ MORE: Kelowna airport issues advisory after passenger tests positive for COVID-19

READ MORE: COVID-19: YLW not affected by international flight suspension


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Plans released for new outdoor pool in Enderby

City shares plans for pool’s location, cost estimates, design features and more

Vernon ‘schools are healthy’: IH medical health officer

Children have a low risk of catching and spreading COVID-19

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP: Throne speech shows failures in COVID-19 response

Mel Arnold critical of Trudeau government’s throne speech Wednesday

2020 overdose death toll rises to 73 in the Okanagan

Just under half of the deaths occurred in Kelowna

COVID-19 picture ‘much clearer,’ says Interior Health president

As fall routines set in, IH CEO Susan Brown reminds public to be vigilant in preventative practices

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Kamloops Mounties happened upon alleged gang-related robbery, kidnapping

Michael Mathieson is charged with armed robbery, unlawful confinement and kidnapping

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Interior Health reports five new COVID-19 cases

Across the region, 34 cases are active

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Penticton quadruple murder trial begins in Kelowna next month

John Brittain, 69, is facing three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Historic BC Tree Fruits head office in Okanagan for sale

The company’s CEO said the decision was necessary due to a fickle fruit market

Most Read