(Phil McLachlan - Capital News Staff)

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News Staff)

Quiet holiday season at Kelowna International Airport

The second wave of COVID-19 has reduced traveller traffic at the airport

It has been a quiet holiday season at the Kelowna International Airport (YLW), amid a quiet year overall.

Airport director Sam Samaddar said that usually they would see upwards of 100,000 travellers go through YLW in the latter part of December, as people come home to the Okanagan, or leave the area for the holidays.

Now, they’ve only seen about 30,000 to 35,000 throughout the month.

Looking back on the year, Samaddar said passenger traffic through YLW was down about 60 per cent.

“We handled over two million passengers in 2019 and we’re looking at handling about 730,000 passengers (in 2020),” he said.

“If we look back in May, as we saw the virus spread in March, and really the aviation industry shut down, we were down to four flights a day with traffic reductions down by 95 per cent… and we’re one of the better performing airports in the country.”

He added that it has been a very difficult year not just for YLW, but for the aviation and tourism industries as well.

On Tuesday, Dec. 22, the first COVID-19 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines arrived in Interior Health. The first doses were administered in Kelowna.

READ MORE: First COVID-19 vaccine administered in Kelowna

As for the news of the vaccine, Samaddar said they’re excited for it but they’re not expecting it to result in quick changes that would benefit the industry.

“If you look at the time that it’s going to take to get people vaccinated in significant numbers, and then look at the consumer confidence piece so people can get back in the air, that’s going to take some time to build.”

“So we’re not (anticipating) next year to be much better than what we’ve gone through this year,” he said.

READ: Health Canada approvesd Moderna COVID vaccine; 1.2M doses of two vaccines expected by Jan. 31


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

Coronavirus

Just Posted

B.C. RCMP released these two photos of Erick Fryer (left) and Carlo Fryer (right). The two brothers from Kamloops were found dead near a remote road in Naramata May 10, 2021. (RCMP photo)
Slain Kamloops brothers found near Penticton not likely connected to recent B.C. gang wars: RCMP

Police confirm the bodies found near Naramata as Erick Fryer, 29, and Carlo Fryer, 31

WorkSafe BC is out in the Interior making sure wineries, cideries and breweries are adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols. (File photo)
WorkSafe visiting Interior wineries, cideries and breweries ahead of tourist tasting season

40 field inspections and 35 consultations are expected over next few weeks

BC Transit is planning several route expansions in Penticton in 2022. (Black Press file photo)
Transit use down in Penticton, multiple route expansions planned for post-pandemic

The number of riders is just over half the peak of January 2020

Police attend house party, then hear shots fired outside the Oliver detachment, with a truck fleeing and set on fire, followed by a pharmacy set on fire early Saturday morning. (File photo)
Shots fired at police, multiple arsons in same night ‘very concerning’ for Oliver RCMP

Police were called to shots fired at a house party, followed by a vehicle and pharmacy set on fire

Four windows were broken at Queen’s Park elementary over the weekend. (Google Maps)
Two Penticton schools hit by vandals recently

Queen’s Park elementary had four windows broken over the weekend

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

A forest of dance-protesters outside the BC Legislature on April 11. These participants were doing the Dance for the Ancient Forest in support of the Fairy Creek blockade and against old-growth logging. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
Arrests begin at Fairy Creek blockade on Vancouver Island

Five protesters arrested as RCMP begin to enforce injunction

A thunderstorm pictured in Fraser Valley in 2021. (Black Press Media/Jaimie Grafstrom)
Wildfire concerns sparked after 320+ lightning strikes blasted B.C. yesterday

Approximately one-quarter of the province is currently listed as being at moderate risk of fire

Coldstream Fire Department was quick to arrive and knock down a fire Sunday, May 16, in a Matner Lane orchard just up the hill from the firehall on Aberdeen Road. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Coldstream fire crews quick to knock down blaze

Fire broke out just before 2:30 p.m. on Matner Lane, which is just up the hill from the firehall on Aberdeen Road

Several RCMP cruisers stationed out front of Kelowna’s Global Fitness following a shooting on the morning of Monday, March 29. The shooting was later revealed to be gang-related. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
B.C.’s top gangs are operating in Kelowna: RCMP

‘We have all of the major gangs in Kelowna,’ said Supt. Kara Triance

Crews battled a grass fire behind the Tolko mill along the railway tracks off Otter Lake Cross Road in Spallumcheen Monday, April 26. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star file)
Reports of man lighting Vernon fires with blowtorch

Grassfires sparked near train tracks, behind bottle depot

Kelowna RCMP precinct. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News file)
Kelowna RCMP promotion process tainted with bias: federal judge

An officer was passed over for a promotion in 2015

A restaurant server on White Rock’s Marine Drive serves customers on a roadside patio. Indoor dining and recreational travel bans have been in effect since late March in B.C. (Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

360 people in hospital, up slightly, two more deaths

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Most Read