Extra planes are coming to Kelowna's airport so passengers stranded because of smoke-related flight cancellations can get home.
About 4,000 outbound passengers and an equal number of in-bound passengers have been affected by scores of cancellations.
Normal operations are expected to resume later today and airlines plan several additional flights on Tuesday for people who haven't been able to fly in or out of Kelowna since Sunday evening.
"We're estimating about 8,000 people were affected by this through the past 36 hours," YLW senior operations manager Phillip Elchitz said Tuesday.
The BC Wildfire Service established a no-fly zone for commercial aviation on the weekend so their aircraft crews could safely work a massive fire burning more than 36,000 ha between Vernon and Kamloops.
Late Monday, Elchitz said, the eastern boundary of the no-fly zone was moved far enough west to allow for a resumption of commercial flights in and out of Kelowna.
"We've worked with BC Wildfire, Transport Canada, and Nav Canada to adjust the eastern boundary of the no-fly zone," Elchitz said. "It's been moved three nautical miles, or approximately five kilometres west and because of that we've been able to establish the instrument approach into the airport."
Burning and smoke conditions of the blaze, called the White Rock Lake fire, allowed for the boundary adjustment, he said. The BC Wildfire Service was also mindful of the no-fly zone's effect on Kelowna's airport, he said.
"There was really a lot of collaboration on getting the approaches open again," he said.
As flights were being cancelled, airport staff worked with some passengers to arrange alternate transportation via shuttles and buses to cities such as Calgary and Vancouver, Elchitz said.
Some Kelowna residents who had plans to fly out of the airport simply put off travel, and most tourists affected by the cancellations were able to arrange accommodation for the unanticipated extra stay in the city, he said.
"We had about six people overnighting at the airport on Monday and four people the night before," he said.
While normal operations are expected to resume, Elchitz cautioned it is possible the eastern boundary of the no-fly order could once again be changed to affect YLW should the fire situation warrant it.