Flights to resume at Kelowna airport today, extra flights being added | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Flights to resume at Kelowna airport today, extra flights being added

A Kelowna International Airport employee stands outside of the airport.
August 03, 2021 - 11:36 AM

Scheduled flights at YLW Kelowna International Airport are expected to resume at around 3 p.m. today.

“YLW, working with the BC Wildfire Service, NavCanada and Transport Canada, has established interim measures to allow instrument approaches and departures to resume. We expect aircraft operations to restart service later this afternoon, around 3.pm.,”  Phillip Elchitz, YLW’s Airport Senior Operations Manager said.

“As with any adverse weather situation, this one continues to evolve. We understand the inconvenience to travellers and appreciate everyone’s patience.”

The White Rock Lake fire burning near Westwold grew to 32,312 hectares over the weekend, prompting the restrictions on air travel in Kelowna.

Elchitz explained a no-fly zone was imposed by the BC Forest Service, which isn't unusual, but nothing of this size at that location has happened before.

With two days of flights cancelled,  WestJet is working to make up for lost time. Elchitz said the airline is adding four additional jets onto the schedule as well as some additional flights the following day as well.

"The intent is to move the 8,000 passengers who have been impacted over the last few days," he said.

For some, it's been a tough couple of days. Elchitz said the airport had about six people sleep overnight last night and four people the night before.

"For the most part travellers were able to find alternate accommodations while they wait for the resumption of service," he said.

While the resumption of service will be a relief to travellers and airport staff alike, Elchitz said the fix is an interim measure.

"We don’t know how the fire will behave over the next several days," he said. "Should the fire grow to the east then BC Wildfire will have to expand the no fly zone to the east which will affect instrument approaches."

The White Rock Lake had about 10 mm of rain over the weekend but it's expected wind and heat will increase fire behaviour in the next couple of days.

This wind will bring improved visibility over the next 48-hours and will allow aerial resources to support ground personnel on the White Rock Lake wildfire.

The fire is out of control and the cause is still unknown.

 

 



 

 

 


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