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Kelowna airport to double in size with $108M expansion underway

Airport strategy aims to keep costs low for airlines, passengers
Kelowna airport expansion to accommodate growing passenger numbers

Kelowna International Airport is set to double in size over the next two years.

YLW's terminal expansion is well underway and is set to be complete in 2026.

The expansion will double the size of the current departures lounge and add new food and beverage options for passengers. Media was given a tour of the work in progress Thursday.

YLW director of operations Phillip Elchitz says the expansion will spread out the "passenger experience inside the departures lounge" and add "six screening lines for people going through pre-board screening."

The expansion will total $108 million.

"We were planning on starting this expansion in late 2018 and into 2019, but of course, we had to delay it. We have been operating the facility at capacity, particularly during peak times," Elchitz said.

"This is very much needed, and we consider ourselves a low-cost budget type facility. The reason why we do that is because we want to keep our operating costs as low as possible so the airlines have an opportunity to make profits on our routes, which brings more traffic, more seats, and more options for passengers."

YLW is also rehabilitating their taxiway to allow for smoother transitions.

The taxiway rehabilitation project is set to be complete in fall 2024 and will cost a total of $6.4 million.

"We sometimes get gridlock on the main apron," Elchitz said.

"That means that aircraft come in, but they can't get to their gate. So after you come on a four or five-hour trip from Toronto, you get to the gate and it is another 10 minutes because of flow... this will allow those aircraft to get in and out quicker so when you arrive, you will be able to go straight to gates."

The project began in April and includes upgrades to pavement surfaces of three taxiways and the construction of a new taxiway.

Elchitz adds construction may cause delays up to 15 minutes for aircraft arriving and departing for the time being.