Kelowna International Airport terminal expansion commences

Exterior view of Kelowna International Airport terminal.
Aviationrocks99, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In September, Kelowna International Airport (YLW) is poised to embark on its most ambitious infrastructure project to date.

The Kelowna Airport Terminal Building Expansion Project is a response to the surging demand for air travel in the region. Its overarching goal is to bolster the airport’s capacity while delivering an enhanced passenger experience.

A Testament to Regional Growth


Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas remarked, “This project will improve connectivity to our region for those traveling to the Okanagan and for our residents. It’s reflective of the growing importance of YLW to our region’s economic development and potential.”

Adding to the sentiment, he stated, “The ATB Expansion project will provide our community a more efficient and comfortable travel experience when traveling through YLW.”

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Kelowna International Airport Transformation


Passengers traveling through YLW this month will witness a series of changes. Notably, parking in long-term lot A will be reconfigured.

Additionally, access to the terminal building from the south end (departures) will be restricted, and demolition work will commence in the security screening area.

During this three-year construction endeavor, existing amenities in the departures lounge will also undergo temporary modifications.

Travelers should anticipate minor alterations in their movement within the terminal building and possibly experience some construction-related noise. Accordingly, the Airport has urged passengers to follow new wayfinding signage.

Sam Samaddar, the Chief Executive Officer of Kelowna International Airport, emphasized, “Throughout construction, the guest experience is a key priority. Our team is making every effort to minimize impacts and inconvenience to passengers caused by construction.”

Phase 1: A Glimpse into the Future


The initial phase of the expansion project will introduce approximately 5,590 square meters of new space to the terminal building. An additional 1,200 square meters will be allocated for the renovation of the existing terminal building. This phase will encompass:

Expanded Departures Lounge

The expanded departures lounge aims to enhance the passenger experience significantly. It will offer improved food and beverage options, ensuring that travelers have a more comfortable and enjoyable wait before their flights.

Expanded Security Screening Area

Efficiency is at the core of this expansion, with the security screening area set to receive a substantial upgrade. The increased capacity will accommodate more travelers, thanks to the integration of cutting-edge technology.

Direct Access Gates

Several gates will receive direct access points for departing and arriving passengers, streamlining the boarding and disembarking process. This enhancement promises to make the airport experience more convenient for everyone.

Improved Wayfinding

Navigating the terminal building will become more intuitive with improved wayfinding signage. Passengers will find it easier to locate their gates, amenities, and services.

Construction for phase 1 of the terminal building expansion is projected to conclude in 2026.

A Financially Responsible Project


Crucially, the Kelowna Airport Terminal Building Expansion Project will be entirely self-funded through fees paid by airport users. This means that Kelowna taxpayers will not bear any taxation impact.

As YLW prepares to embark on this monumental infrastructure journey, it’s clear that the airport’s growth is inextricably tied to the region’s prosperity.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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