Kelowna International Airport

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Kelowna International Airport
YLW logo 2017.png
Kelowna Airport.jpg
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 1,420 ft / 433 m
Coordinates 49°57′26″N 119°22′41″W / 49.95722°N 119.37806°W / 49.95722; -119.37806Coordinates: 49°57′26″N 119°22′41″W / 49.95722°N 119.37806°W / 49.95722; -119.37806
CYLW is located in British Columbia
Location in British Columbia
CYLW is located in Canada
CYLW (Canada)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
16/34 8,900 2,713 Asphalt
Statistics (2014/17)
Aircraft movements 77,492 (14)
Passengers 1,893,470 (17)
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: YLW, ICAO: 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 Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria, and Seattle, as well as less frequent seasonal service to Cancún, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, and Phoenix. Currently, the airport handles up to 38 commercial departures a day, or approximately 266 departures per week.

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


In 1946, a plebiscite was held which authorized the city of Kelowna to purchase the 320-acre Dickson Ranch for $20,000.[6] The airport was opened in 1947 with a 3,000 foot long grass airstrip and a small terminal.[6] Commercial service first began in 1958 by Canadian Pacific Airlines to Vancouver.[6] In 1960, the runway was paved and extended to 5,350 feet.[6] Through the 1960s and 1970s the airport continued to be expanded with a new terminal building, an air traffic control tower, and an onsite weather office.[6] Throughout the 1980s and 1990s commercial and cargo traffic increased necessitating more than $10 million of investment in upgrades to the terminal building, runway and airline operating facilities.[6]

In 1998, a $20 million expansion program doubled the size of the terminal building, increased parking, and expanded airside facilities to accommodate the projected 1 million passengers by 2011.[6]

Terminal facilities[edit]

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

The recently expanded main terminal building is a modern, full-service facility covering approximately 76,000 sq ft (7,100 m2). There are 10 aircraft loading positions, all of which but two 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 (United States and Canada), Western Canada, Northern Canada, Toronto as well as seasonal connections to Southwestern United States, Mexico and Caribbean.


Air Canada Seasonal: Vancouver
Air Canada Express Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver
Air Canada Rouge Toronto–Pearson
Air North Vancouver, Victoria, Whitehorse
Air Transat Seasonal: Cancún, Puerto Vallarta
Alaska Airlines Seattle/Tacoma
Canadian North Charter: Fort McMurray, Kamloops, Vancouver
Central Mountain Air Prince George
Flair Airlines Calgary,[7] Edmonton, Vancouver
North Cariboo Air Charter: Fort St. John, Victoria, Vancouver
Pacific Coastal Airlines Cranbrook, Victoria
Charter: Kamloops
Sunwing Airlines Seasonal: Cancún, San José del Cabo (begins December 15, 2018)[8], Varadero
WestJet Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto–Pearson
Seasonal: Cancún, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Puerto Vallarta, San José del Cabo, Winnipeg
WestJet Encore Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Victoria


Carson Air[9] Kamloops, Calgary, Vancouver
KF Cargo Calgary, Vancouver
SkyLink Express Kamloops, Vancouver


Annual traffic[edit]

Annual Passenger Traffic[10]
Year Passengers % Change
2010 1,391,807 Steady
2011 1,390,187 Decrease -0.1%
2012 1,443,997 Increase 3.8%
2013 1,504,694 Increase 4.2%
2014 1,602,899 Increase 6.5%
2015 1,593,606 Decrease -0.5%
2016 1,732,113 Increase 8.7%
2017 1,893,470 Increase 9.3%

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.[11] Passengers heading to downtown Kelowna or West Kelowna can transfer to 97X Kelowna RapidBus 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, the passenger terminal has been expanded so as to allow hourly processing of 680 passengers in 2015, and will be further expanded as to allow 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.[12]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • 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.[13]
  • 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.[14] No injuries were reported among the 134 passengers on board.[14]
  • October 13, 2016: Former Alberta premier Jim Prentice was among the four people killed in a small-plane crash in British Columbia that took off from Kelowna Airport. Prentice, 60, was aboard a twin-engine Cessna Citation that disappeared from radar shortly after takeoff from Kelowna, en route to the Springbank Airport, just outside Calgary.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Airport Divestiture Status Report". Transport Canada. Archived from the original on February 23, 2007. Retrieved April 3, 2007. 
  2. ^ Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 19 July 2018 to 0901Z 13 September 2018.
  3. ^ Synoptic/Metstat Station Information Archived June 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Canada, Government of Canada, Statistics. "Aircraft Movement Statistics: NAV CANADA Towers and Flight Service Stations: Annual Report (TP 577): Table 2-1 — Total aircraft movements by class of operation — NAV CANADA towers". Archived from the original on July 25, 2015. Retrieved May 9, 2018. 
  5. ^ a b "Facts and statistics". City of Kelowna. Archived from the original on October 3, 2015. Retrieved August 6, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Airport history". Kelowna International Airport. June 6, 2013. Archived from the original on November 8, 2017. Retrieved November 8, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Flair Air expands". Castanet. 13 April 2018. Archived from the original on 16 April 2018. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "Carson Air". Archived from the original on March 18, 2018. Retrieved May 9, 2018. 
  10. ^ Annual passenger. "Facts & statistics". Kelowna International Airport. 
  11. ^ "BC Transit - Welcome to Kelowna". Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2018. 
  12. ^ City of Kelowna (July 3, 2006). "Kelowna International Airport Master Plan 2025 Summary Document" (PDF).  (652 KB). Retrieved on March 26, 2007
  13. ^ Canadian Aviation Safety Board (June 29, 1988). "Aviation Occurrence Report: Pacific Western Airlines Flight 117" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 18, 2013.  (2.29 MB) (CASB Publication No. 86-P64053). Retrieved on March 27, 2007
  14. ^ a b "WestJet plane slips off tarmac in Kelowna blizzard". CBC News. January 7, 2013. Archived from the original on January 8, 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Ex-Alberta premier Jim Prentice killed in B.C. plane crash with 3 others - CBC News". Archived from the original on April 28, 2018. Retrieved May 9, 2018. 

External links[edit]