UPDATE: International Travel Plans at Risk for Kelowna Flights.
Updated: Nov 19, 2021
November 2 2021 UPDATE
Great news for people wanting to travel abroad. Kelowna International Airport has regained its international status.
Kelowna International Airport (YLW) is excited to announce that it will regain its international status for flights to and from Kelowna effective Nov.30.
October 11th 2021
International air carriers, hopeful Kelowna Airport would have regained its international flight status by now, will be forced to cancel cross border flights if Transport Canada doesn't come through with recertification.
Carriers like WestJet and Alaska Airlines have posted international flights from Kelowna starting this winter anticipating Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra PC MP would have restored Kelownas' designation by now.
Bad news for COVID weary British Columbians. Many have already booked flights out of Kelowna for destinations like Cancun, Cabo San Lucas or Phoenix in December and January
Before the pandemic, Kelowna Airport was one of Canada's busiest terminals. It and all but four of Canadas' major airports had operations suspended and lost their international flight certification because of COVID travel restrictions.
That was back in March of 2020.
Vancouver Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal terminals remained open.
Not having permission to fly internationally is made more frustrating because other similar sized Canadian airports have regained their certifications.
Even airports in Ontario and Quebec that see fewer travelers than Kelowna Airport have been allowed to resume international flights.
Sam Samaddar, Kelowna airports director, is quoted as saying he has no idea why the certification has not been restored, and all requirements for safer travel are in place, including a testing lab.
Samaddar's attempts to get clarification from Transport Canada have so far gone unanswered.
Last July Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray sent a letter to the transport minister requesting criteria for resuming international flights. Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabras response?
So far, crickets.
The Conservative MP recently wrote another letter to the Minister, this time sending copies to the media.
Domestic flights out of Kelowna Airport are unaffected by international flight status.
The Kelowna International Airport officially opened in 1946. It is one of North America's fastest growing airports.