Swoop flights from Toronto now landing in Kelowna

Low-cost flights to Toronto

Sarita Patel

There’s a new airline route ’swooping’ into the Valley.

Last month, Swoop Airlines announced its COVID-19 recovery plan with the start of operations from Toronto Pearson International Airport beginning on Oct. 25.

On Sunday, one of their flights from Toronto touched down at Kelowna International Airport (YLW). The new route is a big win for the Kelowna airport, which like the entire aviation industry, has struggled massively with COVID-19.

“The crew was back to work from being laid off for a few months, so they were full of energy,” says Colleen Ham, head of corporate services with Swoop Airlines. 

“We played some games and trivia with the travellers and we did end up giving away two tickets [to] anywhere Swoop flies, so that was pretty exciting.”

YLW airport director Sam Samaddar says the new route will be a big convenience to those living in the Okanagan. 

“We got to talk about it in terms of two directions, ‘cause we have a lot of people who live here [that] are actually from back east, back in Ontario. This is a great opportunity for you to go visit family and friends in Toronto.”

Samaddar was optimistic about the future of flying as rapid COVID-19 tests are being piloted at some Canadian airports. 

"We’ve learned a lot over the past 10 months and we’re trying to push the boundaries even further to ensure that aviation, flying, continues to be as safe as possible.”

So why did Swoop launch a route between Kelowna and Toronto?

"Bringing people out here and seeing the beautiful Okanagan is a great opportunity to kind of expose Canadians to the west coast,” said Ham. 

“Looking at what Canadian market opportunities we could have considering we’re losing the international market - we knew that was going to happen. So, for our ski hills this is great news,” adds Samaddar. 

Swoop previously ran a Winnipeg to Kelowna route, but that was cancelled due to COVID-19 in June. At that time, passenger numbers at the Kelowna airport had fallen to 1996 levels.  

Air Canada resumed its service between Kelowna and Toronto in August. 

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