Statement from the Airport Director: Safe and healthy travel at YLW

December 1, 2020
Public service announcement

During this continued time of uncertainty during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to take the time to provide an update to the community regarding travel at Kelowna International Airport (YLW). 

YLW continues to support the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia as they implement necessary measures to make air travel as safe as possible and to limit the spread of COVID-19. I am encouraged by new COVID-19 testing pilot projects at major hub airports such as Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto Pearson—it is through these research-based, innovative measures that the tourism and aviation industries can respond to COVID-19 while still safely connecting people where they need to go. At YLW, we continue to monitor the situation closely and adapt our operations to follow industry best practices and direction from government and public health officials.

As always, our focus remains on ensuring the health and well-being of our employees, passengers and the community. We know you have questions about air travel and what the future may look like, and this is what we know right now:

Follow local health orders and advice

YLW is open and connecting those who need to travel to key destinations within our Canadian borders. We know many residents and visitors are eager to explore Canada this fall and winter, and we are advising everyone to understand current travel advisories and public health orders before travelling. Find out before you go if there are local bylaws or advisories that you need to follow, such as limiting travel within provinces or territories. 

Where can I fly?

All of our domestic destinations have returned this fall and winter to give those who need to travel more options. In November, approximately 14 daily domestic departures will be on the schedule and in December that number increases to 19 flights per day–still down significantly from the daily average of 44 in December 2019.

If you’re travelling, please see below for airlines and destinations available through December. Please note routes may be subject to change.

  • Air Canada
    • Calgary – Daily 
    • Toronto – Daily starting December 18
    • Vancouver – Daily
    • Air Canada Jetz to Toronto – December 19, 26 and January 2
  • Air North 
    • Vancouver – 2x/week 
    • Whitehorse – 2x/week 
  • Central Mountain Air
    • Calgary – 1x/week 
    • Fort St. John (via Prince George) – 3x/week 
    • Prince George – 3x/week 
    • Terrace (via Prince George) – 3x/week 
  • Flair
    • Edmonton – 2x/week beginning December 18 
  • Pacific Coastal
    • Cranbrook – 2x/week 
    • Victoria – 6x/week and daily starting December 14
  • Swoop
    • Toronto – 3x/week starting December 17
  • WestJet
    • Calgary – Daily
    • Edmonton – Daily
    • Toronto – 2x/week starting December 22
    • Vancouver – Daily
    • Victoria – 2x/week starting December 20

For more information on flight schedules and to book, please contact the airline directly. 

Masks are required

  • All passengers, employees and airport visitors must wear a mask in the terminal. Masks are available for purchase at the airport; however, we encourage everyone to bring a mask (or two) with them.
  • Masks must cover the nose and mouth and meet Transport Canada requirements (masks with exhalation valves or vents, bandanas, neck gaiters, full face masks, face shields or militaristic-style masks are not permitted).
  • Children under two and people with certain medical conditions are exempt from wearing a mask. Transport Canada requires all passengers who are unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons, to provide a medical certificate. If you are unable to wear a mask during your flight, you may not be able to travel. Check your airline's mask policies before travelling.

Health and temperature screening

  • All airlines are required to conduct a health check of travellers before they board a flight within Canada or departing from Canada. 
  • Any traveller presenting symptoms of COVID-19 will be denied boarding for 14 days or until a medical certificate is presented that confirms symptoms are unrelated to COVID-19. For more information, contact the Public Health Agency of Canada at 1-833-784-4397.
  • At security screening, CATSA personnel conduct temperature checks of all departing passengers and airport employees working in restricted areas. This new screening measure is in addition to the existing health screening and mask requirements already in place.
  • A temperature screening station is located in the pre-board security screening area, and all passengers will have their temperature taken by either a temperature scanning camera stationed two metres away or by a contactless, hand-held thermometer.
  • Any passenger who has a temperature at or above 38 degrees Celsius on the first screening will be asked to wait for 10 minutes in a nearby designated waiting area, unless they present a medical certificate indicating that an elevated temperature is not due to COVID-19 (a negative COVID-19 test is not sufficient). A passenger whose temperature remains at or above 38 degrees Celsius after a second reading will not be permitted to continue their travel and will be asked to re-book their travel after 14 days.

Shops and restaurants are open

Early on, many of the airport businesses temporarily closed due to low passenger traffic. Now, we are starting to see our airport businesses re-open to serve travellers. All post-security restaurants are open with adjustments to ensure the safety and well-being of our guests.

  • White Spot is open for dine in. Guests are not required to wear masks when eating or drinking in this area. Dining areas have been reconfigured with reduced seating and barriers have been installed to separate guests from others.
  • The Okanagan Estates Wine Cellar is open during YLW’s busiest travel days—Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays. When the wine shop is closed, shoppers can purchase wines from the gift shop. 
  • Subway and Tim Hortons are open and will remain open after the last flight has departed from YLW. 
  • For current hours of our shops and restaurants, visit ylw.kelowna.ca/HealthyTravel

Parking is available

Due to the reduced number of people travelling, all parking areas have lots of capacity. The long- and short-term parking lots are open and the Cell Phone Waiting Area is free while you wait to pick up your arriving passenger. Valet parking at YLW has been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. For more information about parking options, visit ylw.kelowna.ca/Parking.

Public exposures

We will continue to be transparent and share information about COVID-19 impacts at YLW. The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) notifies the public about possible exposures to COVID-19 on flights arriving or departing from B.C. airports. YLW is providing our utmost support by sharing this information with our community through social media posts and providing resources on our website in multiple locations. Because the information is changing rapidly, all passengers who have travelled recently are advised to check and monitor the BCCDC’s Public Exposures webpage for updates about possible in-flight exposure to COVID-19. 

Chat with us

I’m proud to introduce the newest member of the airport team—Link. Our new chatbot, Link, is available 24/7 on ylw.kelowna.ca so you can get the information you need to know about current travel requirements, screening and safety measures at YLW or more simply—what you can pack in your carry-on. If there’s a question Link can’t answer, you’ll be transferred to one of our friendly airport agents during business hours.

When we are ready to safely explore B.C. and Canada, we’ll be here to welcome you back. Until then, we wish you health and safe travels. 

Sam Samaddar
Airport Director
Kelowna International Airport