International Flights resume at YLW

November 2, 2021

News Release

Kelowna International Airport (YLW) is excited to announce that it will regain its international status for flights to and from Kelowna effective Nov.30. 

“Although our international status will be reinstated Nov.30, it will take some time to have international flights operating again out of YLW. Some airlines have had to push back previously scheduled routes until 2022, due to the uncertainty of timing of YLW’s international status,” said Sam Samaddar, Airport Director. “We are thrilled to be able to once again connect passengers internationally and welcome visitors to our region, and are working closely with airlines to have these routes in place as soon as possible.”

Currently YLW is anticipating the return of the following routes in the near future:

  • Alaska Airlines – Seattle – Dec. 16, 2021
  • Sunwing – Varadero – January 2022
  • WestJet – Phoenix, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun – January 2022

*These routes are subject to change.

“We couldn’t have done this without support from our local politicians, neighbouring municipalities, key local businesses and community members,” said Mayor Colin Basran, ”Our entire community will benefit from the economic impacts of the return of international flights.”

YLW would also like to thank Transport Canada, Canadian Border Services Agency and the Public Health Agency of Canada for resuming international flights at the Kelowna International Airport.

What passengers need to know about international flights:

  • COVID testing requirements
    • When departing YLW:
      • As of Oct. 30, all passengers, 12 years of age and older, are required to be fully vaccinated in order to board domestic or international flights. For more information on this mandate, please visit travel.gc.ca or ylw.kelowna.ca/covid-19
      • Passengers are encouraged to talk to their airline to understand what the COVID-19 testing requirements are to enter their destination country.
      • The Whitecap RSC testing facility is available for any passenger who requires a COVID-19 antigen or molecular test (PCR test) prior to travel. Passengers wishing to access this testing can do so, for a fee and by appointment only, by visiting whitecapcovidtesting.com/kelowna or by calling 604-966-3777
    • When arriving in Canada:
      • Passengers can use ArriveCAN to provide mandatory travel information before and after your entry into Canada. 
    • More information about Government of Canada requirements can be found at travel.gc.ca/Travel-Covid
    • For more information about what to expect when travelling through YLW, visit: ylw.kelowna.ca/HealthyTravel

ABOUT  YLW
During the 2021 COVID 19 recovery, YLW has been one of Canada’s fastest recovering airports, nearing 850,000 annual passengers and offering more than 60 daily non-stop commercial flights with seven airlines. As of November 1, 2021, YLW provided 14 domestic destinations, including: Whitehorse, Victoria, Vancouver, Prince George, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Kitchener/Waterloo, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. The lack of international connections at YLW has resulted in a $2.5 million economic loss to the airport. 

YLW continues to demonstrate a layered approach to safety of the public and employees to ensure a safe and risk-based approach to manage the travel experience. For more information about health and safety measures in place at YLW, visit: ylw.kelowna.ca/HealthyTravel

ADDITIONAL QUOTES
“We would like to thank everyone who has played a role in international flights resuming at YLW, including: The Honourable Omar Alghabra Minister of Transport, The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan Minister of International Development, Tracy Gray MP for Kelowna Lake Country, Dan Albas MP for Central Okanagan Similkameen  Nicola, Norm Letnick MLA for Kelowna Lake Country, Stephen Fuhr former MP for Kelowna Lake Country, City of West Kelowna, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, Vernon Chamber of Commerce, South Shuswap Chamber of Commerce, Big White, Canadian Mountain Holidays, Silver Star Mountain Resort, Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, Tourism Kelowna, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, Economic Development and Shuswap Tourism, University of British Columbia,  BC Tree Fruits, Tolko, Kelowna Eye Care Centre and all community members who showed their support." says Sam Samaddar, Airport Director.