The Okanagan has often been referred to as ‘Canada's California'. Now a new route will unite the two regions.
Kelowna International Airport (YLW) is pleased to announce that United Airlines will offer United Express year round daily service to Los Angeles (LAX) beginning December 19.
"This is great news for our community, the Okanagan and BC's Southern Interior," says Chair of the YLW Airport Advisory Committee, Mayor Walter Gray. "Having daily, non-stop flights between Kelowna and Los Angeles will open the doors for both business and holiday travellers."
"California is the largest transborder market for Okanagan residents and currently accounts for 28 per cent of the outbound travel to the US," says Airport Director Sam Samaddar. "Between the high-tech industry and the wine industry, there are strong business ties between our two regions."
Samaddar continues, "The Los Angeles route has been timed to maximize connections to and from the southwest United States, Mexico and Latin America. This will be our largest hub with the most connections to other destinations. Inbound passengers will find this advantageous as well to help get them here and experience the Okanagan's four seasons of adventure."
"Our new service will not only link Kelowna travellers to Los Angeles and United's global route network, but will also provide a conduit for travellers from the Los Angeles area and beyond to experience what the Okanagan Valley has to offer," said Martin Kammerman, United's senior manager for market analysis. "With a mix of summer and winter outdoor activities and a vibrant business climate, we're confident that Kelowna will be a popular destination for both business and leisure travellers."
"Air service development is a very long process," explains Mayor Gray. "After five years of discussions with United Airlines, our Air Service Development team has built a strong and sustainable business case. I would like to thank United for their investment and confidence in Kelowna and the Okanagan. I would also like to thank Tourism Kelowna, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, Big White Ski Resort and the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission for working with our team at YLW to help make this a reality."
An official launch of the new service will take place with the inaugural flight on December 19. The public is invited to learn more about the destinations YLW serves and its winter flight schedule at the Hot Sun Travel Expo held in the airport terminal building between 11am and 4pm, Saturday September 8, 2012.
As one of the top 10 busiest airports in Canada, YLW's total economic impact is 2,730 jobs and $610 million in total economic output to the province. Serving 1.4 million passengers in 2011, YLW offers 64 daily non-stop commercial flights with Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Central Mountain Air, Northwestern Air, WestJet and United Airlines to Vancouver, Victoria, Prince George, Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Toronto, Seattle, and Los Angeles, including seasonal service to Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, and Cancun; and sun destination charter services by Transat Holidays and Sunwing to Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos as well.