(Phil McLachlan - Capital News Staff)

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News Staff)

Quiet holiday season at Kelowna International Airport

The second wave of COVID-19 has reduced traveller traffic at the airport

It has been a quiet holiday season at the Kelowna International Airport (YLW), amid a quiet year overall.

Airport director Sam Samaddar said that usually they would see upwards of 100,000 travellers go through YLW in the latter part of December, as people come home to the Okanagan, or leave the area for the holidays.

Now, they’ve only seen about 30,000 to 35,000 throughout the month.

Looking back on the year, Samaddar said passenger traffic through YLW was down about 60 per cent.

“We handled over two million passengers in 2019 and we’re looking at handling about 730,000 passengers (in 2020),” he said.

“If we look back in May, as we saw the virus spread in March, and really the aviation industry shut down, we were down to four flights a day with traffic reductions down by 95 per cent… and we’re one of the better performing airports in the country.”

He added that it has been a very difficult year not just for YLW, but for the aviation and tourism industries as well.

On Tuesday, Dec. 22, the first COVID-19 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines arrived in Interior Health. The first doses were administered in Kelowna.

READ MORE: First COVID-19 vaccine administered in Kelowna

As for the news of the vaccine, Samaddar said they’re excited for it but they’re not expecting it to result in quick changes that would benefit the industry.

“If you look at the time that it’s going to take to get people vaccinated in significant numbers, and then look at the consumer confidence piece so people can get back in the air, that’s going to take some time to build.”

“So we’re not (anticipating) next year to be much better than what we’ve gone through this year,” he said.

READ: Health Canada approvesd Moderna COVID vaccine; 1.2M doses of two vaccines expected by Jan. 31


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

Details will be made available in the next few days. (File photo)
UPDATED: Community vaccine program to open in Golden

The clinic will be held from Saturday, May 8 until Sunday, May 16.

Stuart Ashley Jones, 56, was at Grand Forks provincial court for sentencing on May 5, 2021. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks man shot by police during massive flood sentenced to house arrest

Stuart Ashley Jones was shot by a Grand Forks Mountie after ramming two police cruisers in May 2018

BC CDC data showing the geographic distribution of cases in the province. (BC CDC photo)
16 new cases of COVID-19 in Golden area

It’s the highest amount reported in a single week by the BC CDC

Dr. Trina Larsen Soles and the Physicians of Golden. (Claire Palmer photo)
Dr. Larsen Soles: leading Golden’s charge against the COVID

Larsen Soles has been the face behind the Physicians Facebook updates

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The Primary Urgent Care Centre on Martin Street officially opened on March 31, 2021. (Brennan Phillips)
Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District reverses funding decision on care centre

Approval now granted to fund $1 million for Urgent and Primary Care Centre in Penticton

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin checking drivers on BC highways

Four check points are set up Thursday May 6 around the province

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Kelowna City Hall. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
New temporary outdoor shelter in Kelowna opens

The new area on Richter Street and Weddell Place replaces the Baillie Avenue site

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Most Read