Cancel Preloader

Select passenger flights from Kelowna to resume Sunday night

Flights are expected to resume out of Kelowna, B.C., starting Sunday night, airport officials said.

Sam Samaddar, Kelowna International Airport’s CEO, said flights are cancelled for a third day, but once air tankers working to suppress fires across the Central Okanagan are grounded for the night, at around 9 p.m., commercial flights will resume.

“We have some good news actually today for travellers,” he said.

“We know that tonight that we will have 12 flights operate out of Kelowna, between the hours of 9 p.m. and about 1:30 a.m. Monday. Destinations included are Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and also Toronto.”

Click to play video: 'WestJet CEO visits Kelowna International Airport'

WestJet CEO visits Kelowna International Airport

This type of late-night schedule is set to persist until the firefight subsides.

Story continues below advertisement

“We expect that to continue to happen as long as the firefighting doesn’t go in a different direction ,”  Samaddar said.

“We also would expect, in terms of working with our partners, that we may be able to expand those hours into daylight as well as the fire suppression and the air tanker activities shrink in size to deal with the fires.

The ability of flights to operate at YLW is determined by Transport Canada and airlines. Not only are they concerned about the use of airspace but also weather, and how smoke is impacting sight lines.

It’s been a difficult couple of days for people whose homes and plans have been affected by the fires.

It’s also a blow to the travel industry that struggled throughout the pandemic when travel was halted.

“Any of these kinds of things are difficult to take, especially the aviation industry as a whole as we’re trying to recover … from the pandemic,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Flights in Kelowna disrupted after laser pointed at aircraft'

Flights in Kelowna disrupted after laser pointed at aircraft

“Kelowna airport was on target to actually achieve (its) 2019 numbers and we’ll obviously have to see how this has impacted that. It’s too early to really assess that at this point in time but you know, our business at the core of our business is safety and the safety of our community is very, very important … and we’ve got to take care of that first before we think of the broader realm of how this may affect our business at the airport.”

Story continues below advertisement

If the airspace is opened to allow flights to operate out of YLW, flight status could be impacted by weather conditions at the airport, such as smoke. Passengers are asked to check with their airline for updated information about flight status before coming to the airport.

Similarly, in Penticton, flights are being cancelled due to the smoke. People flying out of that airport are being asked to check with their  airlines directly for flight information.

Passengers with vehicles parked in short- or long-term parking lots of YLW will not be charged for any additional parking required due to flight cancellations.

The B.C. provincial government has declared a state of emergency and is asking visitors to avoid non-essential travel to the Central Interior. Those travelling home or that are visiting for essential purposes can access the Okanagan region, however.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


Related post