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8900 feet of excitement unveiled
Nov. 07, 2008
Airport runway dedicated
A pivotal point in Kelowna International Airport's history was reached on Friday, November 7 as 8900 feet (2,712.72 metres) of runway was officially dedicated in front of a crowd of 200 spectators.



"This is a proud and historic moment for Kelowna International Airport and the Okanagan Valley," said Airport General Manager Sam Samaddar. "Today we transition from a continental serving facility to an intercontinental airport."



A major benefit to the longer runway is the ability to accommodate larger aircraft that can provide direct service into Europe. The extension also means more business for the local aerospace industry such as Kelowna Flightcraft through the ability to attract and service larger planes.



The project, which began February 2008, extended the runway from 7300 ft to 8900 ft was completed on time and on budget at a cost of $8 million. Federal and Provincial government partners each contributed $1.35 million while the City of Kelowna committed $5.3 million from Airport Improvement Fees which is collected from passengers departing Kelowna International Airport.



"This airport continues to offer excellent service to its tenants and passengers while still maintaining its low cost model," said Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd. "The future for Kelowna International Airport and the surrounding communities is very exciting."



Airport, government, tourism and business leaders kept an eye in the sky as an F18 from 4 Wing Cold Lake conducted a flyby to officially kick off the ceremonies and ended with a DC10 - brought in especially for the event by Kelowna Flightcraft - which is the largest airplane to ever land and take off from Kelowna. The event was brought to a close with a ceremonial traditional dance by the Westbank First Nations dancers.



The runway extension project is the first phase of the Airport's 2010 Development Program; the centre piece of that program is a new international arrivals concourse capable of handling 250 passengers per hour. Improved ground access and expanded vehicle parking, a new car rental facility and two new aircraft loading bridges are also included in the development program.



Kelowna International Airport is investing $36 million to expand facilities to meet the growing demand as passenger numbers are forecast to grow to 1.6 million in 2015. For the third consecutive year passenger volumes at Kelowna International Airport have increased by double digits. Traffic levels reached a new record in 2007 with 1.36 million passengers using the facility, marking an 11 per cent increase over 2006's record breaking year of 1.2 million.



Visit the official website for more flight and airport information at www.ylw.aero.