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Airport development

To better serve the needs of our passengers and meet our region's increasing demands for air service, Kelowna International Airport (YLW) has put into place a phased development program. Between 2010 and 2020 YLW will have invested over $92 million in facility upgrades.

These projects will be paid for through the $15 Airport Improvement Fee (AIF), which is collected by the airlines from each departing passenger, on behalf of YLW to support development projects. YLW has one of the lowest AIF's among Canadian airports.

Currently, we have completed 14 of 17 projects within our Drive to 1.6 million Passengers and Flight to 2020 programs. These projects contribute to a more efficient and enjoyable passenger experience at YLW and include:

Apron I rehabilitation - Complete

The Apron I rehabilitation is a lifecycle replacement of existing pavement to increase capacity to support heavier aircraft and more frequent traffic at YLW. Construction began in 2017 and is expected to be complete by the end of 2018.

Upgraded Instrument Landing System/Runway approach lighting - Complete

Upgrades to YLW's approach lighting system and Instrument Landing System (ILS) are now underway. We expect these projects to be complete in Fall 2018. 

The new approach lighting system will enhance safety and provide operational efficiencies to aircraft arriving in low visibility conditions from the south. 

The landing system upgrade project is part of a cost-sharing agreement with NAV CANADA to replace aircraft navigation equipment. The new facility will be relocated to accommodate a future runway extension.

Departures Lounge enhancements - Complete

All four phases of enhancements to the Departures Lounge are now complete.

Work was complete in November 2018, and included the following upgrades:

  • modernization of retail outlets and the business centre
  • the addition of a new Kid's Zone
  • construction of Tim Hortons and Subway
  • renovations to the White Spot kitchen to improve capacity and speed of service
  • new ceilings and flooring
  • energy efficient lighting
  • additional tables and seating, and electronics charging stations


Widening of Airport Way - Complete

The widening of Airport Way is the first phase of a multi-phase initiative, as outlined in YLW’s 2045 Master Plan, to improve access to and from the Airport to meet the needs of the growing region.

Construction began in Summer 2018, and included: the addition of a westbound lane on Airport Way between Highway 97 and the Okanagan Rail Trail, a paved sidewalk, new native shrubs and LED street lighting. All work was completed in November 2018.

A future phase of construction will focus on improving traffic circulation and safety within the Airport lands by constructing a roundabout on Airport Way at Lochrem Road with access to the terminal, tenant properties, long-term parking and Airport Plaza.


High-speed exit doors - Complete

Demolition and construction to install high-speed exit doors from the Departures Lounge are now complete. These doors are commonly used at airports to provide easy connections to other areas of the terminal.

Benefits of the new high-speed exit doors include:

  • improved passenger flow in the terminal, especially during busy periods
  • reconfigured seating areas to provide wider pathways for arriving passengers
  • upgraded exit that bypasses the baggage carousels

These new doors went into service in early October 2018.

Outbound baggage hall - Complete

After two years of construction, 700 metres of conveyor belt, and over 100 companies and partners, Kelowna International Airport is proud to announce that the new Outbound Baggage Hall is officially open! The new baggage haul features state-of-the-art security screening equipment and can handle 900 bags every hour, doubling the capacity of the previous facility.

West Lands development - Complete

The West Lands Development project was completed in June 2018. It included the build-out of new serviced lots, ready for development by tenants providing aviation support services.