International flights to return to Kelowna's airport

International flights resume

International air travel is returning to Kelowna International Airport.

International flights into YLW have been essentially grounded since the outbreak of the pandemic.

But Alaska Airlines has announced its Seattle to Kelowna route will resume on Dec. 16, "just in time for the holidays."

The route will use a Q400 Dash-8 aircraft.

Air Canada announced they would be offering new non-stop service between Kelowna and Montreal back in early July, but YLW has been struggling to survive since the pandemic all but halted air travel, including international flights 18 months ago.

Early in 2020, YLW had projected to reach 2.25 million passengers by 2025. But by April 2020, YLW’s 47 daily flights to 14 destinations had been reduced to nine daily flights to eight destinations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Canadian airports and the aviation and tourism industries,” said Sam Samaddar, airport director.

While it has been possible to fly to international destinations, including the United States during the pandemic all direct international flights out of Kelowna were cancelled in favour of the four hub cities: Vancouver; Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.

Starting in November, any air traveller going to the U.S. will need to provide proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test taken with 72 hours of boarding.

According to Alaska Airlines website, travellers to Canada are required to submit information digitally using the ArriveCAN app or website.

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