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Fewer cancellations and delays with proposed Kelowna flight path: Airport officials

A proposed change in the flight path will allow more planes to land on time in Kelowna during poor weather, airport officials say.

Phillip Elchitz, director of operations and innovation, explained that the new flight path, which will be more noticeable above  Upper Mission and Crawford neighbourhoods in Kelowna, will amount to fewer cancellations and delays during low-visibility weather conditions, such as rain, snow and fog.

“We have an existing approach path that comes in from the south during inclement weather, where aircraft fly that approach to land during low visibility,” Elchitz said.

“For that approach itself,  the aircraft has to have a certain type of technology on board. Not all aircraft have that technology on board. What we’ve done is design a second approach path into the airport that will allow all of the aircraft to use the approach.”

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In cases where the aircraft doesn’t have the specialized equipment, they have to circle the airport, cancel or divert but this change, in some ways, will be the equivalent of widening a winding road and making it more navigable for all.

“With the existing approach, aircraft can deviate 100 feet to either side of the approach path,” he said. “With the new approach aircraft can deviate 300 feet from either side of the approach path and the reason for that is because a new approach is actually higher than the existing approach. This will allow almost all aircraft to be able to land in inclement weather when landing from the south.”

YLW is working with Nav Canada to introduce a new Navigation Performance Authorization Required approach in January 2024, which will provide the new flight path for aircraft arriving into YLW from the south on runway 34 and help minimize disruption to service.

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RNP-AR leverages satellite positioning and modern flight management systems to allow an aircraft to fly a precise three-dimensional approach while avoiding obstacles such as mountainous terrain.

Residents are invited to attend information sessions hosted by YLW and Nav Canada to learn more about this additional approach.

The information presented at all sessions will be identical. The sessions are a drop-in format with opportunities for residents to talk to staff and ask questions to learn more about the new approach, impacts and benefits.

The first information session is planned for Wednesday, Nov. 1, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.  at the Okanagan Mission Community Hall, at 4409 Lakeshore Rd.

The next is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 2, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.  at Rutland Centennial Hall on 215 Shepherd Road.

Additionally, YLW and Nav Canada will be at the YLW Fall Travel Show to share information about the new approach Saturday, Oct. 28 , from  11 a.m. to  3 p.m at  KF Centre for Excellence on 5800 Lapointe Dr.



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