(UPDATE: Nov. 2 @ 9:50 am) – Kelowna International Airport will regain its international status on Nov. 30, but flights to the United States and Mexico won’t come immediately at that time.
“Some airlines have had to push back previously scheduled routes until 2022, due to the uncertainty of the 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.”
Flights to Alaska and Seattle will resume on Dec. 16, while flights to sunshine destinations like Phoenix, Varadero, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, and Cancun won’t take off until January.
“We couldn’t have done this without support from our local politicians, neighboring 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.”
The “international” is returning to Kelowna International Airport (YLW).
Transport Canada announced today that international flights carrying passengers will be permitted to land at eight more Canadian airports starting on Nov. 3.
YLW is included in that list, as are another pair of BC airports in Abbotsford International and Victoria International.
“Increased vaccination levels have allowed us to safely re-open these additional Canadian airports to international passenger flights,” said Omar Alghabra, minister of transport.
“This measure will help ensure that travelers are able to access more regional airports for their international travels this winter while continuing to support the Government of Canada’s measured approach to re-opening our border.”
The news comes after weeks of pleas from YLW, local MPs, and others to give Kelowna’s airport its international status back.
YLW was pushing hard for a full reopening for December so flights could start again to Seattle, Phoenix, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, and Cancun.
The Seattle link is essential for business traffic and those connecting to a world of options.
The flights to Phoenix and Mexico are desirable for those wanting to get to sunspots quickly and directly.
“The airlines are all watching this carefully too because they need to adjust schedules, ready aircraft and book crews,” Kelowna airport director Sam Samaddar told KelownaNow a month ago.
“Plus, people are making decisions right now about their winter holidays and they want to fly directly from Kelowna if they can.”
Now that the announcement has been made, travelers can confidently book their winter vacations that take them from Kelowna to the United States or Mexico.
Transport Canada said all eight airports that are resuming international flights will work with multiple agencies to implement the measures necessary to start safely welcoming international passengers as of Nov. 30.
Apart from Kelowna, Victoria and Abbotsford, airports in St. John’s, Hamilton, Waterloo, Regina and Saskatoon are also getting their international status back later this month.
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