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Flying out of Kelowna projected to cost more next year

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
December 07, 2018 - 10:00 AM

KELOWNA - With the two millionth traveller for 2018 expected to pass through Kelowna International Airport this month, city council is being asked to approve an airport spending plan that calls for a $5 increase in the Airport Improvement Fee.

Reaching the two millionth passenger level will make Kelowna the 10th busiest airport in Canada and it is happening at least two years ahead of earlier projections. It’s also cramping terminal operations.

On Monday, Dec. 10, council will review the airport’s new Soaring Beyond 2.5 Million Passengers plan that includes $183 million in projects over the next 10 years to accommodate the increased passenger traffic.

Since the airport is self-funding, a good portion of that money will come from passengers, who now pay $15 per departing flight, which is proposed to go to $20 on April 1, 2019 and to $25 in 2020.

An earlier version of the plan listed Airport Improvement Fees at the 15th busiest airports in Canada. At $15, Kelowna was tied with Victoria and Toronto City airports at the lowest. St. John’s and Quebec City were the highest at $35.

Other revenue comes from things like landing fees, food services and parking.

Planners had proposed jumping the improvement fee to $25 when the Soaring Beyond plan was presented to the Airport Advisory Committee in October but the increase was scaled back for 2019.

Major projects include $50.2 million to expand the departure area to the south by 2022 and relocating the arrivals and baggage area, again to the south end of the terminal, by 2025 at a cost of $33.4 million.

Rehabilitation and expansion of loading bridges connecting the terminal to plans will cost more than $7 million and a self-serve baggage drop is projected at $1.6 million by 2023.

Less visible will be more than $90 million for improvements outside the terminal, including $41.8 million for Airside Pavement Rehabilitation and $10.4 million for an Operations Building to be combined with vehicle storage and maintenance facility.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 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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