Kelowna-Lake Country MP asks the government to open YLW to international flights

Gray: Open up our airport

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray says it's time the federal government reopened Kelowna International Airport to international travel.

The airport has been closed to international flights since spring of 2020 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Gray says she has written the Transport Ministry asking why YLW is not open, and the metrics being used to determine when they can.

"Despite being one of the Top 10 busiest airports by passenger volume in Canada, the government has refused to reopen the airport to international travel, while at the same time reopening less busy airports," said Gray.

"Despite writing to the minister in July, I have heard nothing but silence from the minister or his department.

"The people of Kelowna-Lake Country deserve to hear from his government what metrics are being used to keep Kelowna International Airport closed, and what the timeline for reopening is."

The extended closure has cost the airport an estimated $2.5 million according to the MP, a figure that does not include the impact on tourism and manufacturing sectors.

Gray says knowing the metrics being used to determine when the airport will be able to reopen would assist small businesses, tourism and hospitality sectors, airlines and airport staff plan for the future.

Chamber of Commerce executive director Dan Rogers says it's astounding YLW has not been cleared for international flights when other, less busy airports have been given the green light.

"Kelowna International Airport is a major hub in B.C., and has a massive impact on the economy in the region and province, and we need to see the federal government take immediate steps to help YLW rejoin the global community," said Rogers.

Airlines have begun advertising winter international flights in and out of Kelowna, however it remains unclear when those flights will be allowed to take off.

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