Kelowna International Airport. —Image: Capital News file

Kelowna International Airport. —Image: Capital News file

Kelowna International Airport saw 64% decrease in passenger numbers in 2020

The airport said these numbers haven’t been seen since 1997

Overall the Kelowna International Airport (YLW) experienced a 64 per cent decrease in passenger traffic throughout 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions that came with it.

YLW released its final passenger numbers for 2020, on Thursday, which show a total of 737,447 passengers travelled through the airport last year. The 2020 passenger levels at the airport haven’t been seen since 1997.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Canadian airports and the aviation and tourism industries,” airport director Sam Samaddar said.

“Our focus for 2021 remains on a healthy and safe travel experience for everyone at YLW and ensuring the airport can continue to operate for essential services despite a significant loss in revenue.”

Between 2016 and 2018, YLW experienced unprecedented passenger growth, which was driven by expanded air service, flight connectivity, population growth, as well as economic activity in the Okanagan. Early in 2020, the airport projected it would reach 2.25 million passengers by 2025.

But by April 2020, YLW’s 47 daily flights to 14 destinations went down to nine daily flights to eight destinations.

YLW remained open throughout the pandemic to provide access to commercial flights within the region, helping patients connect to medical care or for other essential travel for work.

“In 2021, YLW will remain focused on keeping operating costs low to ensure the airport is in a good financial position to take part in the recovery from COVID-19.”

“YLW will also continue to identify new potential revenue streams through strategic development that can be reinvested back into the airport,” YLW staff said in a statement.

READ: 536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. finds its first case of South African variant

READ: CEO of air traffic controller Nav Canada cites ‘staggering’ drop in flights in 2020


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

City of Kelowna

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Students from Summerland’s Okanagan College often posed for photographs on the Big Rock. The rock was on the northern slope of Giant’s Head Mountain. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Summerland’s Big Rock had been desposited during last ice age

Rock was once a prominent feature on Giant’s Head Mountain

The husband wife team of Brett Turner and Olivia Fobert are the bakers and makers behind Joy Road Catering who are opening up a pop up bakeshop this May in the former Craft Kitchen. (Facebook)
Pop-up bakeshop opening in downtown Penticton

Joy Road Catering’s Bakeshop will be offering breads, pastries, lunch bowls and a marketplace

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

(Stock photo)
EDITORIAL: The freedom to read

Books have been challenged many times in the past

The Penticton Speedway has been sold but the investment group who bought it is planning to create an enhanced racetrack and racing experience. (File photo)
Penticton Speedway sold and staying as a racetrack

Investment group that includes founder of Area 27 intends to buy the Speedway

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Ranchero Deep Creek firefighters respond to a blaze involving two adjacent structures at a property off of Deep Creek Road on Sunday, Feb. 21. The buildings were believed to have been used as part of a cannabis growing operation, and RCMP are investigating. (Sean Coubrough/CSRD photo)
Ranchero Deep Creek firefighters respond to a blaze involving two adjacent structures at a property off of Deep Creek Road on Sunday, Feb. 21. The buildings were believed to have been used as part of a cannabis growing operation, and RCMP are investigating. (Sean Coubrough/CSRD photo)
Shuswap firefighters responding to structure blaze find cannabis grow operation

RCMP investigating, attempting to track down owner of property

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional death in last day

The dam at Thirsk Lake, west of Summerland, was expanded in 2007. A crack has now been discovered where the old and new portions of the dam meet. (Summerland Review file photo)
Crack at Thirsk Dam to be examined

Reservoir west of Summerland was expanded in 2007

Most Read