Now that we’re into the new year, holiday travellers are heading home and airports are getting back to their usual operations.
Kelowna International Airport says despite all the challenges, they made it through the busiest time of the year.
YLW is a lot quieter than it was in recent weeks, which is a sigh of relief for airport staff.
“It’s been very hectic, I mean peak winter operations of the holiday period always is hectic,” said airport director Sam Samaddar.
“Obviously, we had weather across Canada and North America and it started early through the west coast and channelled through. It’s certainly been a challenging peak period operation,”
YLW has returned to its normal operations with the majority of flights departing and arriving on time. One issue still lingering is luggage left over at the airport.
“We’re still dealing with some delayed bags but it’s certainly much smaller amounts. We’ve had certainly a large accumulation of bags that we had to move to other locations just because of the time it’s taken to process them,” Sammadar said.
In a statement to Global News, WestJet says it is trying to do its best to reunite passengers with their luggage and are working with local airports.
“Our baggage teams across our network have a lot of bags to sort through after the large backlog of cancellations experienced over the holidays,” the statement read.
“But they are working around the clock to get them moving and delivered to our guests as fast as possible.”
Bags are being picked up and shipped out daily so they can be reunited with their owners. However, staff say there is still the concern of them being stolen.
“That’s why we have CCTV cameras, we have security patrols. Obviously, we need to give access to the passenger to be able to pick up their bag. There’s certainly a balance in terms of the threat against someone picking up a bag and walking out the door with it,” said Sammadar.
Samaddar says the airport had contingency plans in place for the chaotic past few weeks and they were still able to deliver some positive outcomes.
“We kept the runway, for example, open throughout the holiday period, regardless of the weather that was happening. The teams did a great job in dealing with what they were dealt with and trying to help our common passenger.”
Samaddar also adds that the delays and issues at YLW this holiday season – will serve as a learning opportunity for airport staff.
“The more that we can use technology rather than a manual system to reunite passengers with their bags would be much preferable.”
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