Kelowna International Airport has kicked off its 75th anniversary celebrations.
“For a 75-year-old this airport’s future is looking better than ever,” Mayor Colin Basran told the crowd assembled for the announcement. “Our airport as you know is a critical hub in British Columbia’s economic recovery.”
The mayor also thanked Airport Director Sam Samaddar and his staff for their day-to-day efforts.
“We have the best airport staff if the country, and there’s a reason why our airport punches way above its weight class.”
Samaddar expressed his excitement in celebrating the anniversary with staff, YLW tenants, partners, and Okanagan residents.
“I would especially like to thank all of the staff over the last 75 years who have built YLW into what it is today,” said Samaddar. “We have been so fortunate to have such strong community and partner support.”
The theme of 75 Trips Around the Sun features year-long activities including contests and giveaways as well as other events to be announced. A major highlight will be a visit by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds in the summer. Two 50-minute shows will be held over Okanagan Lake, on July 9 and 10.
KF Aerospace Founder Barry Lapointe told the crowd that in the early 1970s the vision of the Kelowna airport was not well received by the city.
“They had to spend money out here and that’s the last thing the city of Kelowna wanted to do was spend on something out here called an airport,” said Lapointe. “But a lot of people had the vision. W.A.C. Bennett (B.C. Premier 1952-1972), and another chap was Mayor Parkinson (Richard, 1958-1969), it was their vision that made the Kelowna airport what it is today. It’s people like Sam and city council who can still see that vision.”
Lapointe attributed Kelowna’s success to having an international airport.