Vernon Chamber supports YLW $5 fee hike

Price boost can ready airport for capacity challenges now and in the future

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce is in favour of the increased airport improvement fee at Kelowna International Airport.

The chamber said it endorses the measure to boost the fee from $20 to $25 on March 1, 2020, after Kelowna city council gave three readings to bylaw amendments on Nov. 4.

The airport has proposed its landing and terminal fees will increase by two per cent.

“YLW is critical to the economy of the North Okanagan as it allows investors and visitors to access our region, while providing local businesses the opportunity to compete globally,” chamber general manager Dione Chambers said.

The increased fee will help transform the airport by 2029 to the tune of $220 million, plus inflation. Proposed improvements include a $109-million terminal expansion, a $20-million apron expansion and a $2-million self-serve baggage drop.

The airport will also look to expand pre-board security screening, add additional snow clearing and firefighting equipment and add an additional loading bridge to accommodate international and domestic arrivals at the same time.

“The team at YLW provide a tremendous service but passenger numbers climbed 38 per cent between 2013 and 2018 and that has led to capacity challenges,” Chambers said. “There is no question that the Soaring Beyond 2.5 Million Passengers Capital Program will ensure that YLW continues to be an important economic catalyst for the entire Okanagan.”

It is expected Kelowna councillors will consider adoption of the bylaw changes on Nov. 18, 2019.

— with Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce files

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Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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