Flying in and out of Kelowna is going to look a lot different | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Flying in and out of Kelowna is going to look a lot different

File. Kelowna International Airport.

Kelowna's airport has long been described as one of the fastest-growing in North America, but COVID-19 has severely curtailed its ambitions. 

Airport director Sam Samaddar said today in a press release that it, much like many businesses in the Okanagan and in the tourism sector, was hit hard by the ongoing global COVID-19 health crisis.

"We will be one of the last sectors to fully recover," Samaddar said in the release. "In April and May, our passenger numbers dropped by 96 per cent, and while we expect it will take several years for YLW and other airports across Canada to recover, we’re getting ready now so we can welcome travellers back when the time comes."

In the meantime, the airport remains open and is operating for domestic travel. In June and July, Central Mountain Air, Flair Airlines and Pacific Coastal Airlines will resume operations at YLW to Victoria, Prince George, Calgary and Edmonton. Air Canada is currently operating flights to Vancouver twice per day, Central Mountain Air will resume operations on July 6 with flights to Prince George three times per week, Flair Airlines has recently announced it will resume operations on July 16 with flights to Calgary and Edmonton.

Pacific Coastal Airlines resumed service June 1 with flights to Cranbrook and Victoria three times per week. Additional service to Victoria is expected to begin on June 28 to connect YLW to Victoria six times per week. WestJet is currently operating two flights per day to Calgary and Vancouver. Ebus resumed bus service in B.C. beginning on June 4. The Ebus kiosk has now re-opened inside the Terminal. Currently, bus service has scheduled stops at YLW four times per week.
Health checks and masks

Those who are willing to get on a flight will also see changes, like a demand for a removable non-medical mask or face covering large enough to cover their mouth and nose during portions of their travel through Canadian airports and in-flight. 

All travellers are subject to a health check before they board an aircraft and anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to travel. Health checks may be administered by an airline employee at the check-in counter or the boarding gates.

Any traveller presenting symptoms of COVID-19 will be denied boarding for 14 days or until a medical certificate is presented that confirms symptoms are unrelated to COVID-19.

Also there's a new series of changes to the terminal created to assist with COVID-19, including enhanced cleaning and sanitization of high-touch areas, such as electronic check-in kiosks, luggage carts, railings and seating areas as well as in the washrooms.

They've installed plexiglass barriers at all airline check-in counters and boarding gates, added more hand sanitizer stations throughout the Terminal and are refilling them regularly installed new physical distancing floor decals to remind passengers to keep two metres away from others.

Seating has been reconfigured in the departures lounge to promote physical distancing and the traffic flow has been adjusted around the Terminal to ensure one-way traffic areas.

For information and updates, visit

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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