Kelowna Worldwide Airport bracing for surge of vacationers

With restrictions against Canada-wide recreational travel set to lift as early as July 1, Kelowna International Airport (YLW) is now preparing for a surge of travelers.

After being mostly shut down for over a year, several procedures have been set up by YLW to better prepare for the re-opening.

“We have had some plans for some time on how we start to gear up, but it is not a quick process,” said Sam Samaddar, airport director.

“You just can’t restart the whole system after it being shut down for well over a year now. There is some careful planning that has taken place, but there are going to be some constraints.”

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<p>Part of the re-start plan involves hiring back several – previously laid off – staff members.</p>
<p>Thousands of airport workers around Canada were laid off in spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including over 40% from YLW.</p>
<p>Samaddar said they will now try and re-hire as many previously laid-off employee’s as possible, assuming they’re still available.</p>
<p>Several safety measures will also remain in place following the re-opening, including keeping the mask mandate until further public health says otherwise.</p>
<p>“People haven’t been here for well over a year, so they are going to experience a different airport than what they did before the pandemic. We have put in a lot of safety measures and as we have learned we have also put in more safety measures on top of that.”</p>
<p>In March, the airport also set up public COVID-19 testing for international travelers.</p>
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