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File Photo: Kelly Hayes - Castanet
File Photo: Kelly Hayes - Castanet

Passenger travel at YLW at 2008 levels

by - Story: 52814

If January is any indication, 2010 could be another record breaking year at Kelowna International Airport.

After a significant drop in passenger travel in January 2009, passenger travel at YLW rebounded last month and surpassed 2008 levels.

Nearly 126,000 passed through the Kelowna airport in January, an increase of 10.05% over January of 2009 (114,438) and 0.39% over the record breaking year of 2008 (125,448).

"Some of the credit (increased passenger traffic) goes to the increase in flights, mainly to Mexico," says YLW media spokesperson Jenelle Hynes.

After five straight record breaking years, YLW saw a slight decrease in traffic in 2009.

The airport saw a 1.6% decrease in 2009, a far cry from the national average of 7%.

"From 2004 to 2008, we increased our passenger traffic by 55%. We knew we were going to see some levelling off," added Hynes.

"We had a couple of bad months early in 2009 which were mainly weather related. The recession may have had a something to do with it as well."

All in all, Hynes says the airport is well ahead of its long-term goal of 1.6 million passengers by 2015.

Hynes says the airport should get a very good indication where it is heading numbers wise in the early spring.

She says traditionally, March and April are the busiest months at YLW because a lot of people like to travel when kids are out of school for spring break.

Meantime, Hynes says one of the long-term 2010 goals is to add one or two more U.S. destinations which could again influence the number of passengers departing from and heading into Kelowna International.

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