Skip to content

Clear skies for Kelowna International Aiport projects

Between 2024 and 2033 YLW will invest approximately $422 million in upgrades to infrastructure

The largest infrastructure project in the history of Kelowna International Airport (YLW) is flying smoothly.

Media outlets got a behind-the-scenes look at Phase One of the terminal expansion project on Thursday, May 23.

The project had been delayed, including through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now that passengers have come back, we’ve been operating the facility at capacity, particularly at peak times,” said Philip Elchtiz, director of operations and innovation at YLW. “This is very much needed.”

Phase One will double the size of the departures lounge.

“That’s going to spread things out significantly and it’s going to allow for an enhanced, comfortable experience in the departures lounge,” Elchitz added.

Additional security screening lines, direct access to gates, and new and expanded food offerings are also part of the expansion. The cost of the project is $108 million and construction is expected to be finished in 2026. Other planned phases include a new arrivals area and customs facility.

Also on the construction schedule is a six-storey, 245-room Sutton Place Hotel and a seven-level parkade at the airport.

READ MORE: Luxury hotel brand checking in at Kelowna International Airport

Another project underway at YLW is an expansion of the taxiway network.

“We have so much air traffic on the main apron that we’re starting to run into capacity issues,” Elchitz explained.

Once completed the project will provide better traffic flow and efficiency, and allow aircraft to get to a gate more quickly so passengers can deplane. While construction is underway a section of the taxiway is occasionally closed, which adds extra time to flights.

“Passengers could see 10 to 15-minute delays outbound and inbound,” Elchitz said.

He added that some flights may also have to circle for 10 to 15 minutes before landing due to taxiway closures.

The project, expected to be completed in the fall, is part of a $6.5 million airside rehabilitation project over four phases.

All projects are funded by the airport, with no impact on taxation for residents.

Between 2024 and 2033 YLW will invest approximately $422 million in upgrades to infrastructure.

READ MORE: BC Cancer Foundation wraps $6.1M campaign for Kelowna therapy suite

Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
Read more