Despite what you might have heard, Kelowna International Airport has not lost its 'international' designation.
Senior manager of airport operations, Phillip Elchitz tells Castanet Transport Canada has been moving to bring its policies in line with the International Civil Aviation Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations focused on air travel. Transport Canada published a list earlier this year listing 13 designated 'international' airports, generating local headlines across the country about airports being delisted.
"We continue to use the word international in our name and we still have requirements to receive international air travel, once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted of course," says Elchitz.
Right now all international passenger flight arrivals in Canada are being redirected to one of four airports:
- Calgary International Airport
- Vancouver International Airport
- Toronto's Pearson International Airport
- Montréal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
Regardless of the timing, Elchitz says this is a housekeeping step that will bring the airport up to current ICAO standards. YLW will have to apply for the designation by June 24, 2021, and Elchitz is confident that, "once we apply, the international designation will follow the Kelowna Airport name in flight publications."
The designation makes it easier to attract international arrivals and departures by air carriers and makes the airport a more attractive destination for future expansion.
"We already meet all the minimum requirements, we already have Canada Border services, we already protect the approaches. we meet the intervals for testing the emergency plan. We've met all the requirements for many, many years," says Elchitz.