YLW invests record funding into airport infrastructure to meet future growth

Dec 14, 2019

Photo: YLW

Kelowna International Airport (YLW) announced the next phase of its capital development program – Soaring Beyond 2.5 Million Passengers, to help meet unprecedented levels of passenger growth. In 2018, passengers totalled a record-breaking 2,080,372, a 31 per cent increase or more than 486,700 passengers since 2015 – becoming the 10th busiest airport in Canada.

On December 12, 2019, Kelowna City Council approved $67.3 million for the construction of YLW’s largest expansion to date. As part of the Soaring Beyond 2.5 Million Passengers program, YLW will invest the most ever in its 72-year history – $69.9 million back into the airport over the next three years. Funded through Airport Improvement Fees, this capital development program has no impact on taxation.

“Today marks the next step in our plan to expand the airport to ensure it meets the needs of our region now and well into the future,” said Sam Samaddar, Airport Director. “With this investment, we can begin construction in the Spring of 2020 to better serve more passengers.”

As part of the expansion, YLW will complete the following projects:

  • Expand the terminal by doubling the size of the existing departures area, expand security screening, and provide more retail, food and beverage options
  • Addition of essential airside equipment, including equipment to clear snow from the apron, taxiways and runway
  • Design of apron expansion to accommodate larger and more aircraft
  • Design for upgrades to airside lighting and supporting infrastructure
  • Consultation on a self-serve bag drop

Starting in March 2020, terminal expansion construction is expected to begin and continue until 2023. To help fund the investment, YLW will be implementing a $5 increase in the airport improvement fee (AIF) to $25 per departing passenger, effective March 1, 2020. AIFs are common among Canadian airports and are used to fund capital projects and the cost of associated debt.

Quick facts:

  • YLW is the busiest municipally owned airport in Canada and it is funded entirely through its own revenues. Even though it is owned by the City, it has no impact on taxation.
  • Over the next 10 years, YLW anticipates a total investment of $293 million to expand and upgrade airport facilities, infrastructure and equipment.
  • By 2045, YLW is expected to serve 3.5 million passengers annually.

As the 10th busiest airport in Canada, YLW’s total economic impact is 4,545 jobs and $789 million to the province of British Columbia. Serving more than 2 million passengers in 2018, YLW offers more than 70 daily non-stop flights with nine airlines. Learn more about how YLW is funded at ylw.kelowna.ca/funding. For more information, visit ylw.kelowna.ca.

Shayne Dyrdal
Senior Airport Finance and Corporate Services Manager
Kelowna International Airport

(News Source: YLW Press Release)