$5.5 million upgrade to Kelowna Flying Club planned

YLW expands private flights

Kelowna International Airport is expanding services for "general aviation" for the first time in almost 20 years.

The Kelowna Flying Club and its members have come up with $5 million to privately fund an expansion project that will result in a 64 per cent increase in the number of private aircraft accommodations on the 5.5-acre general aviation parking area adjacent to Airport Way.

The project is expected to produce over $150 million in financial benefits for YLW, the city and the region over the course of its 30-year term.

The concept is the brainchild of Richard Visscher, a prominent KFC member and retired Kelowna engineer.

“We’ll increase the number of parking slots from fifty-four to eighty-eight – all of them paved. Forty-two will be under roof, with the remaining forty-six available for parking both resident and itinerant aircraft,” said Visscher, who has re-designed the entire site to maximize its use.

The project is being hailed as highly innovative with KFC and YLW signing a 30-year sublease. The new development will also expand the airport's use and will attract more tourists and other visiting aircraft to the Okanagan Valley. The club will supply additional parking, hangarage and aviation fuel services for pilots who live locally as well as those who want to fly into the region from points across Canada and the US.

“YLW makes it a priority to support the general aviation community. It is a cornerstone of the industry and is instrumental in helping our future leaders develop and maintain a passion in aviation,” said airport director Sam Samaddar,.

A recent study by the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association found that 1.5 jobs are created by every general aviation aircraft in Canada.

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