Kelowna airport passenger count could double by 2045 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna airport passenger count could double by 2045

February 05, 2018 - 1:35 PM

KELOWNA - Fresh off a record year which saw over 1.9 million passengers pass through its gates, the Kelowna International Airport is already looking ahead to when it handles twice that number.

But for that to happen, the airport will have to expand and Kelowna city councillors found out Monday, Feb. 5, the plan to take the city-owned facility to 2045.

Airport manager Sam Samadar outlined for councillors some of the problems the facility is facing including a runway that is too short to handle future demand.

Five new remote aircraft parking stands will be needed by 2035 and a new terminal gate by 2045.

Service roads around the airport and the parking lots will need to be reconfigured and expanded as will the holding rooms and baggage claim areas.

Better signage throughout the airport is needed and in particular, the airside corridor leading to the boarding ramps which is confusing for passengers who frequently become lost or board the wrong plane.

The airport recently acquired 78 acres south of the airport but Samadar told councillors more commercial land is needed.

Fuelling the expansion drive is a forecast of 3.6 million passengers and a 50 per cent increase in aircraft “movements” otherwise known as take-offs and landings.

Samadar told councillors that a community consultation shows the top concern among passengers is the lack of direct flights and international destinations followed closely by a lack of parking.

Passengers also want to see more food and beverage options and improvements to the arrivals area and baggage carousels.

Kelowna International Airport is self-supporting and the money for the expansion will come from airport improvement fees collected from each passenger.

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