Kelowna airport celebrates new routes

Kelowna International Airport welcomed its first direct flight from Los Angeles yesterday – a United Airlines flight that capped a year of expansion for the ...

Kelowna International Airport welcomed its first direct flight from Los Angeles yesterday – a United Airlines flight that capped a year of expansion for the airport.

In April, the airport welcomed North Western Air's twice-weekly direct service to Red Deer as well as new seasonal WestJet flights to Phoenix and Los Angeles.

Previously, Kelowna residents had no direct route to California.

Ski resort operators told Business in Vancouver earlier this year that they were excited about the increase in service because it meant Alaska Airlines no longer had a monopoly on the market via their Kelowna-to-L.A. flight that stops in Seattle.

http://www.biv.com/article/20120807/BIV0106/308079924/0/SEARCH/Kelowna-LAX-flights-set-to-boost-Interior-ski-business

Obtaining the United Airlines flights took more than four years of negotiations.

Michael Ballingall, who is senior vice-president at Big White Ski Resort and at Silver Star resort, together with other resort operators and representatives at Tourism Kelowna, originally lobbied for a direct flight to San Francisco because they thought getting gate space at LAX would be impossible.

United then bought Continental Airlines in a US$3.17 billion all-stock deal in 2010, creating the world's largest air carrier.

Management shakeups followed, forcing Ballingall's team to restart lobby efforts and sell a new set of executives on the idea of flying to Kelowna.

Those new executives eventually calculated passenger projections for San Francisco and Los Angeles and determined that the flights to Los Angeles would make money from day one, Ballingall said.

"The decision and the timing was based around business, not tourism," he said.

Large Kelowna employers such as Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS), which in 2007 paid $350 million to buy the Kelowna-founded virtual reality game Club Penguin, will also benefit from direct flights to Tinseltown.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom

comments powered by Disqus

More from Transportation

Ex-Purolator CEO Patrick Nangle takes wheel at Modo car-share

Car-share company's board determined that his technology and fleet-management experience made him ideal fit

Read Article

Tomorrow likely the busiest day of busiest year at YVR

Last two weeks of August tend to be the busiest period of the year at Vancouver International Airport

Read Article

Canada’s electric car market in slow lane: report

Number of cars, infrastructure lag behind those of smaller countries 

Read Article

BIV on Global BC August 23, 2016: YVR strike averted, Loblaws acquires ...

Read Article

Editorial: The trouble with trade data deficits

Read Article

Subscribe to our mailing lists

* indicates required

Newsletters

* You can modify your newsletter subscriptions at the bottom of any newsletter you receive.
×