Kelowna International Airport

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Kelowna International Airport
WMO: 71203
Airport type Public
Owner Transport Canada[1]
Operator City of Kelowna
Serves Kelowna, British Columbia
Hub for
Time zone PST (UTC−08:00)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−07:00)
Elevation AMSL 1,421 ft / 433 m
Coordinates 49°57′26″N 119°22′40″W / 49.95722°N 119.37778°W / 49.95722; -119.37778Coordinates: 49°57′26″N 119°22′40″W / 49.95722°N 119.37778°W / 49.95722; -119.37778
CYLW is located in British Columbia
Location in British Columbia
Direction Length Surface
ft m
16/34 8,900 2,713 Asphalt
Statistics (2014)
Aircraft movements 77,492
Passengers 1,602,899
Sources: Canada Flight Supplement[2]
Environment Canada[3]
Movements from Statistics Canada[4]
Passenger statistics from City of Kelowna (2014).[5]

Kelowna International Airport (IATA: YLWICAO: CYLW) is a Canadian airport located approximately 10 minutes or 6.2 nautical miles (11.5 km; 7.1 mi) northeast of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, on Highway 97.

The single runway airport operates scheduled air service to the major hub airports of Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria, and Seattle, as well as less frequent seasonal service to Cancún, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. Currently, the airport handles up to 36 commercial departures a day, or approximately 210 departures per week.

In 2014, the airport was among the busiest airports in Canada by number of passengers with 1,602,899, representing a 6.5% increase over 2013.[5]

Terminal facilities[edit]

Interior of the airport terminal's check-in area.
Departure lounge of the airport.

Today, the recently expanded main terminal building is a modern, full-service facility covering approximately 76,000 sq ft (7,100 m2). There are 8 aircraft loading positions, all of which are fitted with jet bridges. The arrivals area contains three baggage carousels, one of which can be cordoned off to accommodate international/US arrivals (and remaining two for domestic arrivals) and Canadian Customs processing (The airport has CATSA pre-board screening area, but not US pre-boarding clearance zone).

Several food and beverage services, including Tim Horton's and White Spot Legends Restaurant, newsstands (Skyway Gifts and News), and tourist-related retail stores (Okanagan Estate Wine Cellar), in addition to a limited selection of duty-free goods (Okanagan Style and Duty Free), can be found in the terminal. The departure lounge features a wired business centre and complimentary wireless Internet. The airport's focal point is a glass rotunda which contains a fountain and the cylindrical glass sculpture "Escape from Stella Polaris" and Skyway Atrium Lounge. Kelowna Art Gallery operates a satellite site at the airport. A small observation area is located on the mezzanine level.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Key destinations from the airport are Pacific Northwest (US and Canada), Western Canada, Northern Canada, Toronto as well as seasonal connections to Las Vegas, Mexico and Caribbean.


Airlines Destinations
Air Canada Vancouver
Air Canada Express Calgary, Vancouver
Air Canada Rouge Toronto–Pearson
Air North[6] Vancouver, Whitehorse
Air Transat Seasonal: Puerto Vallarta, Cancún
Alaska Airlines
operated by Horizon Air
Canadian North Charter: Fort McMurray, Kamloops, Vancouver
Central Mountain Air Prince George
Pacific Coastal Airlines[7] Cranbrook, Victoria (Begins 27 October 2015)[8]
Sunwing Airlines Seasonal: Las Vegas, Mazatlán, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Varadero (begins 18 December 2015)[9]
WestJet Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto–Pearson, Vancouver
Seasonal: Cancún, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Puerto Vallarta, San José del Cabo
WestJet Encore Edmonton, Calgary, Fort McMurray, Vancouver, Victoria


Airlines Destinations
Carson Air[10] Kamloops, Calgary, Vancouver
KF Cargo Calgary, Vancouver
SkyLink Express Vancouver, Kamloops


Annual traffic[edit]

Annual passenger traffic (enplaned + deplaned) at Kelowna Airport, 2004 thru 2014[11]
Year Passengers Year Passengers
2010 1,391,807
2009 1,367,631
2008 1,389,883
2007 1,363,391
2006 1,226,442
2005 1,078,652
2014 1,602,899 2004 894,561
2013 1,503,288
2012 1,440,952
2011 1,390,187

Ground transportation[edit]

Cars, buses and taxis can connect to the airport for Kelowna via Highway 97N. The airport has an outdoor parking lot next to the terminal and some short term spaces near the terminal building.

Public transit[edit]

The airport is serviced by Kelowna Regional Route 23 and Vernon Regional Route 90 (rush hour service only) buses, which connect Vernon and Lake Country with UBC Okanagan Exchange in Kelowna. The airport is not served by the bus on evenings and weekends.[12] Passengers heading to downtown Kelowna or West Kelowna can transfer to 97X express bus at UBC Okanagan Exchange.

Future expansion[edit]

In 2006, the Kelowna International Airport Advisory Committee created the Master Plan 2025, a document dedicated to the expansion of the Kelowna International Airport. The Plan is expected to cost approximately $150 million. Due to YLW's unprecedented growth, a Master Plan was required to aid in keeping the airport at modern traffic handling standards. By 2008, the airport lengthened the single runway to 8,900 ft (2,700 m), and plans to lengthen to 10,000 ft (3,000 m) by 2025. Also, there are plans for the passenger terminal to be expanded so as to allow hourly processing of 680 passengers by 2015, and 900 passengers by 2025. Currently, the hourly rate is approximately 400 passengers. In order to do this, the terminal size will be nearly doubled, and a 2,400 space parkade will be constructed. Also, to reduce vehicular traffic congestion, a diamond overpass/underpass interchange will be constructed at the current intersection of Highway 97 and Airport Way.[13]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

The following accidents occurred either at the airport, or involved aircraft using the airport:

  • July 14, 1986: Pacific Western Airlines Flight 117, a Boeing 737-200 flying from Calgary International Airport to Vancouver International Airport with a stop in Kelowna, left the runway while landing in Kelowna and came to rest approximately 1,300 ft (400 m) beyond the end of the runway. No fatalities or serious injuries were reported, however, 5 crew members and 76 passengers suffered minor injuries.[14]
  • February 4, 2009: At 10:40 PST, a two-seat Cessna 152 coming from Salmon Arm crash-landed on Kelowna Airport's main runway. The two passengers on board were uninjured.
  • January 7, 2013: WestJet Flight 150, a Boeing 737-700 scheduled to depart at 07:00 PST to Edmonton International Airport, slid off the tarmac in Kelowna while it was taxiing to be de-iced during a heavy snowfall.[15] No injuries were reported among the 134 passengers on board.[15]


  1. ^ "Airport Divestiture Status Report". Transport Canada. Retrieved April 3, 2007. 
  2. ^ Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 24 July 2014 to 0901Z 18 September 2014
  3. ^ Synoptic/Metstat Station Information
  4. ^ Total aircraft movements by class of operation — NAV CANADA towers
  5. ^ a b "Facts and statistics". City of Kelowna. Retrieved August 6, 2015. 
  6. ^ Air North, Yukon's Airline to serve Kelowna year-round - Air North
  7. ^ New Service Between Cranbrook (YXC) and Kelowna (YLW)
  8. ^ Victoria ( begins 27 October 2015 )(Expanding our interprovincial connection - City of Kelowna
  9. ^
  10. ^ Carson Air
  11. ^ Facts and Statistics. Retrieved on Apr 3, 2015.
  12. ^ Kelowna Regional Transit Route 23 Schedule
  13. ^ City of Kelowna (July 3, 2006). Kelowna International Airport Master Plan 2005 Summary Document PDF (652 KB). Retrieved on March 26, 2007
  14. ^ Canadian Aviation Safety Board (June 29, 1988). Aviation Occurrence Report: Pacific Western Airlines Flight 117 PDF (2.29 MB) (CASB Publication No. 86-P64053). Retrieved on March 27, 2007
  15. ^ a b "WestJet plane slips off tarmac in Kelowna blizzard". CBC News. January 7, 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 

External links[edit]