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Two millionth passenger at Kelowna airport

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December 20, 2018 - 2:41 PM

KELOWNA - Kelowna International Airport welcomed its two millionth passenger today, Dec. 20 — a full two years ahead of expectations.

The airport planners had predicted it would not reach this level of activity until at least 2020 but the rapid growth in population and flights has put more passengers through than anyone had expected and has resulted in a somewhat crowded terminal at busy times.

“As the largest municipally owned and operated airport, YLW is one of the single largest economic drivers for jobs and revenues in B.C.’s southern region,” states a news release from the City of Kelowna. “YLW also supports more than 4,545 jobs and produces $789 million in total economic output to the province of British Columbia.”

“Reaching two million passengers this year is an incredible achievement for YLW and the Okanagan,” Airport Director Sam Samaddar said in the release. “This truly is a community celebration. We could not have reached this milestone without the help of our airport tenants, airline and tourism partners, stakeholders, and of course — our passengers.”

In 2005 the airport reached the one million passengers per year milestone, which was 47 years after the first flight departed from the airport.

It took only 13 years to get to the two million mark. By 2045, the count is expected to be up to 3.5 million passengers annually.

To deal with the growth, the airport plans on spending $183 million over 10 years on improvements, starting next year. It will include expanding the departure and security areas and relocating the baggage area to the sound end of the terminal.

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