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Kelowna airport officials concerned job action that slowed travelers in Vancouver could spread to YLW – Kelowna News

A recent serious staffing shortage that caused hours-long delays to get through security at Vancouver International Airport is on the radar of Kelowna International Airport.

On Sunday, travelers at YVR got stuck in huge lineups after several employees with the company contracted by the Canadian Air Transport Authority (CATSA) called in sick at the last minute. Some reports suggested it was a “soft strike” by workers with Allied Universal.

The same company is also the CATSA air security screening supplier at YLW.

“We do have our concerns,” says airport director Sam Samaddar. “We do have contingency plans in place.”

“Our main goal is to make sure passengers and the aircraft leave on time. As long as we can pull those passengers in advance to make sure they don’t get stuck in a screening line.”

Samaddar said that’s one of the methods that has been deployed to try to keep people moving through the airport.

As the summer travel season draws to a close, he notes there has been a lot of growth in passenger traffic this year, but that creates challenges.

“As you know, we’ve had some difficulty as an aviation industry in terms of wait times and things, with all aspects of our business. So, we’ve had labor shortages that are building up to support where we’re going,” said Samaddar.

He expects by the end of 2022, YLW will be at about 80 to 85 percent of the passenger volumes it saw in 2019.

“Which is very, very positive. And we are looking for greater opportunities this fall and into the winter, with more air service being introduced into our airport.”

After a delay due to the pandemic, an airport terminal expansion is set to begin in 2023. It should help alleviate some crowded conditions experienced by travelers in recent months.

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