VERNON – The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce endorses measures that will permit Kelowna International Airport to respond to growth and continue to serve as the gateway to the Okanagan.

On Nov. 4, Kelowna city council gave three readings to bylaw amendments that will increase the airport improvement fee from $20 to $25 March 1, 2020, while it’s proposed that landing and terminal fees will increase two per cent.

“YLW is critical to the economy of the North Okanagan as it allows investors and visitors to access our region, while providing local businesses the opportunity to compete globally,” said Dione Chambers, Greater Vernon Chamber general manager.

Dione Chambers

The airport improvement fee means YLW can proceed with $220 million (including inflation) in improvements by 2029. Among the proposed projects are a $109 million terminal expansion, a $20 million apron expansion and a $2 million self-serve baggage drop.

The capital program also calls for expanded pre-board security screening, additional snow clearing and firefighting equipment, and an additional loading bridge to accommodate international and domestic arrivals at the same time.

“The team at YLW provide a tremendous service but passenger numbers climbed 38 per cent between 2013 and 2018 and that has led to capacity challenges. There is no question that the Soaring Beyond 2.5 Million Passengers Capital Program will ensure that YLW continues to be an important economic catalyst for the entire Okanagan,” said Chambers.

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce is a member of the Kelowna International Airport Advisory Committee.

It is expected that Kelowna city council will consider final adoption of the airport fees bylaw Nov. 18.

Dione Chambers is General Manager at Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at manager@vernonchamber.ca or 250-545-0771