The Government of Canada, on Wednesday (Jan. 26), announced more than $18 million in funding to help Kelowna International Airport (YLW) recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The news was shared by Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra and Minister of International Development and the Minister for Pacific Economic Development Canada Harjit S. Sajjan.
To help ensure safe airport operations for aircraft, passengers and crew, the airport will receive more than $15.2 million from Transport Canada's Airport Critical Infrastructure Program to support:
- the expansion of the airport's combined operations building;
- the replacement of sections of the terminal building roof;
- upgrades to airfield lighting infrastructure;
- the construction of runway end safety areas (RESA); and
- the establishment of facilities and modified airport infrastructure to facilitate improved flow and management of air travellers and airport employees related to COVID-19 testing and screening.
In addition to the funding for the critical infrastructure projects, Ottawa will also provided YLW with just over $3 million from Transport Canada's Airport Relief Fund to help it maintain continued airport operations and essential air services for residents and workers in Kelowna and surrounding communities.
"As we move forward with the safe and gradual return of activity in the aviation sector in a way that continues to support the health, safety, and security of all Canadians, it will be imperative that we continue to ensure a vibrant and competitive Canadian air sector. These critical investments will allow the Kelowna International Airport to invest in the infrastructure and tools needed to help re-invigorate the aviation industry and allow Canadians to feel safe and secure when they travel," Minister Alghabra said in a statement.
The Airport Critical Infrastructure Program, launched in May 2021, will distribute $571.2 million in funding over five years to airports for eligible infrastructure projects related to safety, security, and connectivity to mass transit systems.
"The Kelowna International Airport keeps British Columbia connected," Minister Sajjan said. "By investing in critical transportation infrastructure projects we are enhancing airport safety for travellers, air crews, and airport workers. This continued support will fund important upgrades while creating jobs, bolstering the regional economy as we recover from the effects of the pandemic and look to grow economically after a year of extreme weather in British Columbia."