YLW passenger counts continue to soar

Kelowna International Airport's 2014 passenger count tipped the scales at 1,602,988.

It’s been another record-breaking year at Kelowna International Airport.

YLW’s 2014 passenger count tipped the scales at 1,602,988. This growth represents 98,205 more travellers, a 6.53 per cent increase over the previous record in 2013.

“Exceeding our forecasted 1.6 million passenger mark one year ahead of schedule is quite remarkable,” said Sam Samaddar, airport director.

“If you look back at our numbers 2007 to 2011, we stayed within the 1.3 million range and by 2012 we grew to a passenger count of 1.4 million. After reaching 1.5 in 2013 we were ecstatic to break through the 1.6 million milestone. It may not be long before we start talking about approaching two million travellers. This is pretty incredible.”

YLW added several new routes including WestJet service to Fort McMurray and charter operations serving the oil sands in 2014. An extra daily flight was scheduled to Edmonton with WestJet and Air Canada introduced the Q400 to multiple destinations increasing seat capacity. United Airlines replaced daily service from Los Angeles with seasonal flights to San Francisco. Pacific Coastal Airlines most recently commenced connections to Trail, while Air Canada Rouge will begin service this summer to Toronto.

“Achieving this important milestone of 1.6 million a full year ahead of schedule is a direct tribute to the significant efforts of the team at YLW to open up new markets and the collective marketing efforts of the communities of the region,” said Glenn Mandziuk, Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association president.

“Our region is rapidly becoming a preeminent visitor destination in North America and this announcement reinforces we are moving in that direction.”