Statement from Airport Director: COVID-19 Information for travellers

March 19, 2020
Public service announcement

Good afternoon,

I know there is concern among passengers, employees and residents about the coronavirus outbreak. We take our COVID-19 response seriously and are following the direction of the Provincial Health Ministry to deal with situation in British Columbia. We agree with the health experts’ direction to exercise an abundance of caution in dealing with this virus, so that we can curb its spread in our community.

The safety of airport employees, passengers and our greater community is our top priority, and we are committed to keeping passengers and the public informed as we receive updates about COVID-19, which is why I am sharing information with you today.

As of right now, this is what we know:

Air service at YLW

The airport is open and flights are operating, however, we do expect to see flight reductions over the coming days and weeks as the airlines respond to curbing the spread of the virus. All passengers are advised to check and monitor their flight status with their airline as information is rapidly changing.

Air Canada has announced route cancellations on domestic and international routes. Kelowna-Toronto and Kelowna-Edmonton routes will be suspended from Mar. 23-Apr. 30. Other routes are operating, however, they may be on a reduced schedule.

WestJet announced the suspension of all commercial international and transborder operations for a 30-day period effective Sunday, March 22. In addition, WestJet’s domestic schedule will be reduced by 50 per cent. For more details and updates, visit blog.westjet.com

Swoop service to Las Vegas will be suspended as of Monday, March 23 due to COVID-19. For more information and rebooking options, visit FlySwoop.com/coronavirus

Sunwing Vacations has announced that it is suspending all southbound flights from March 17 to April 9. If you have a flight booked from YLW on Sunwing, visit Sunwing’s COVID-19 advisory page, talk to your travel agent, or call the airline directly at 1-877-786-9464 if you have questions.

Travel restrictions

The Government of Canada has advised all Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside the country and has closed the borders to non-residents. Anyone who is showing flu-like symptoms will not be allowed to board an aircraft destined for Canada.

Travellers returning from international locations are advised to self-isolate for 14 days after their return to Canada. Find out more at Canada.ca/coronavirus

Register with the Government of Canada as a Canadian travelling abroad in case of an emergency while you are outside of the country.

For updates on how these restrictions impact YLW, visit ylw.kelowna.ca/coronavirus.

Changes to airport services

With the COVID-19 public health issue continuing to evolve, temporary changes to several airport services have been implemented until further notice. 

Dining

Most dining services will offer take-out service only, with the exception of White Spot, which is open. At each dining location, napkins and cups are available upon request.

  • White Spot Restaurant and Lounge: the dine-in lounge remains open with reduced tables to maintain social distancing measures.
  • Tim Hortons: take-out only with reduced hours.
  • Subway: take-out only
  • Freshii: take-out only

Other services

  • Valet parking: until further notice, drop-off valet service will not be available. Passengers who currently have vehicles parked in valet parking may pick up their vehicle directly upon their return.
  • Airport Ambassador program: for the health and safety of our ambassadors and passengers, we are temporarily suspending this program.
  • Family Adventure Zone: the kid’s play area is temporarily closed to maintain social distancing and reduce the spread of the virus.

How we’re responding to COVID-19

We are working closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) which is responsible for health screening decisions at Canada’s ports of entry, including airports. Enhanced screening measures have been in place at YLW under the direction of PHAC, and those screening measures have been expanded and updated in an ongoing basis as the COVID-19 situation has evolved.

In addition, we’ve:

  • Increased sanitization of high-touch points throughout the airport, including employee areas.
  • Added more hand sanitizer stations throughout the terminal.
  • Implemented social distancing measures in the terminal and in employee areas.
  • Shared information from the public health authorities on hygiene practices that can reduce the spread of the disease.

We continue to work closely with PHAC, Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and other public health agency partners to provide our full support.

Help do your part

To reduce the spread of coronavirus, PHAC recommends taking the following steps:

  • wash your hands often with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds.
  • use alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • stay home if you are sick.
  • when coughing or sneezing cover your mouth and nose with your arm or tissues to reduce the spread of germs.
  • immediately dispose of any tissues you have used into the garbage as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards.

While the situation with COVID-19 is in flux, our commitment to safety and the well-being of everyone at YLW has not changed. We remain committed to ensuring a safe environment for everyone who comes into the airport.

Wishing you health and safe travels.

Sam Samaddar

Airport Director
Kelowna International Airport