Stalls that are empty in the Kelowna airport's under-utilized parking lot could be leased to university students and faculty.
City councillors will be asked Monday to endorse a plan by YLW managers to lease hundreds of stalls to UBC Okanagan.
"Due to the significant, negative impact of COVID-19, the airport's parking lot is not being fully utilized. On the other hand, UBCO needs additional parking for its students and staff," reads part of a report to council.
The plan is to rent the space to the university for a per-semester charge of $360, starting Sept. 20. After parking at the airport, students and faculty would then hop on a shuttle for the four kilometre tip to the campus.
It's projected offering parking stalls to the university would earn the airport anywhere between $50,000, if 138 stalls were leased out, and $108,000, if 300 stalls were leased, through the end of 2021.
There were 2,600 short- and long-term parking stalls at YLW in 2019, when the city approved plans to add another 600-stalls on a gravel lot.
In July of this year, airport manager Sam Samaddar said YLW was about the sixth-busiest airport in Canada, despite the pandemic-related slowdown.
At the time, there were still about 40% fewer flights in and out of YLW each day compared to pre-pandemic levels. "But we are certainly recovering a lot faster than many airports across the country," Samaddar said.
More than two million passengers passed through YLW in 2019, but the number plunged to 730,000 in 2020.