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Mexican connection to thank for increased volume at Kelowna airport

Thursday, February 18th, 2010 | 4:59 pm

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By Joe Fries

More flights to Mexico meant 10 per cent more passengers lifted off from Kelowna International Airport in January than the same month a year prior.

Some 125,936 passengers departed from the airport last month, an increase of 11,498 bodies over 2009, according to stats provided by staff at YLW. The latest figure eclipsed even what was seen in the heady days of January 2008 by a slim margin of 488 people.

In explaining the increase, airport spokeswoman Jenelle Hynes said the facility hosted double the number of direct flights to Mexico in January 2010 than it did 12 months prior, and also pointed out that favourable weather meant fewer birds were grounded.

The facility marked a banner year in 2008, when 1,389,883 people flew out of Kelowna, a figure that dipped by 1.6 per cent in 2009.

Hynes said the scheduled and charter flights to Mexico run until April and hopes that might help reverse last year’s decline.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” she said. “It’s a great start to the new year.”

And Hynes also noted that passenger volume at YLW increased by 55 per cent between 2004 and 2008, so, “To have a bit of levelling off at this point wouldn’t be unreasonable.”

joe@kelowna.com

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