Kelowna International Airport will receive more than $18 million in federal funding for crucial infrastructure projects and help cover operational costs.
The announcement was made Wednesday (Jan. 26), during a virtual news conference with Omar Alghabra, Minister of International Development, Harjit Sajjan, Minister of International Development, and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, and Mayor Colin Basran.
“This funding will help the airport expand its combined operations building, replace sections of the terminal building roof, upgrade airfield lighting and construct runway and safety areas,” said Alghabra. “It will also help the airport establish facilities and modify airport infrastructure to help improve flow and management of air travellers and airport employees related to COVID-19 testing and screening.”
More than $15 million will fund those projects, while another $3 million will help cover operational costs.
Basran pointed out that YLW is a hugely important pillar in Okanagan’s overall economic strength.
“This investment will play a huge role in helping the Okanagan pull out of the economic challenges presented by this pandemic,” he said.
Basran also gave credit to those who have worked hard to ensure the airport’s success.
“This airport, along with its partners in aerospace, air service, and other commercial services continues to grow and exceed demand year in and year out, almost in defiance of the economic circumstances. That is a huge credit to Sam Samaddar (YLW director) and his team, and to the great ongoing leadership and relationship the city of Kelowna has with other levels of government.”
The mayor said he is also pleased to see YLW’s passenger numbers increase, percentage-wise, probably quicker than any other airport in the country.
“We’re certainly looking forward to using these funds to enhance the security and connectivity of the Okanagan region,” said Basran. “This will be welcome news to not only our tourism operators but all of our local businesses.”
The funding comes from the Airport Critical Infrastructure Program and the Airport Relief Fund.