YLW

Five more Canadian airports can offer international flights in early August but YLW didn't make the list released Monday. The airport in Quebec City, which handles fewer passengers than YLW, can restart international flights.

More Canadian airports are being reopened for international flights but only domestic connections remain on the horizon at YLW.

The federal government announced Monday that international air service can resume Aug. 9 in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Halifax, Ottawa, and Quebec City.

But Kelowna's airport, the 10th busiest in Canada pre-pandemic with passenger counts higher than Quebec City's, was not on the list of airports authorized to restart international travel.

"In a way, we are disappointed," YLW manager Sam Samaddar said Monday. "If the re-opening had stuck only to Level One airports, we wouldn't have a problem with it.

"But they added Quebec City into the international flights marketplace as well," Samaddar said.

Kelowna wasn't added to the list of airports authorized to resume international flights because of limited resources at Public Health Agency Canada, Samaddar believes.

International flights will likely resume at YLW on Sept. 7, when all current restrictions on international travel are expected to be lifted, Samaddar said.

Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Kelowna had regularly scheduled international flights to Seattle and Phoenix, as well as several charter destinations.

Currently, YLW is performing better than some of Canada's major airports, Samaddar said. "We're around the sixth-busiest mark," he said.

"We had nine Canadian destinations pre-Covid, and we have 14 today," Samaddar said. "So we're certainly seeing a strong domestic market."

There are 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.