The passenger ticket tax at YLW will top out at $25, Kelowna city council heard Monday.
Council unanimously approved a $5 hike in the tax to fund a variety of terminal improvements.
“This would be the final increase that we would be anticipating,” airport finance manager Shane Dyrdal told council.
The tax, also known as an airport improvement fee, was increased to $20 this year from $15.
Of Canada’s 15 busiest airports, 13 have a passenger ticket tax of $20 or $25, council heard.
Between next year and 2029, about $200 million worth of projects are planned for YLW. The single largest is a $60-million expansion of the departure lounge and pre-board screening facilities to occur between next year and 2023.
“This is huge, and it’s going to serve our region so well,” said Mayor Colin Basran. “It’s just another day at the airport, a $60-million expansion. It speaks to how well things are run out there.”
No tax dollars are used to operate the airport.
“I find people who use the airport are willing to pay for the airport,” said Coun. Luke Stack, praising the level of services and amenities at YLW. “I’ll gladly pay (the increase), knowing the facilities are top-notch.”
The airport operates on a “brilliant business model,” said Coun. Gail Given. Coun. Brad Sieben said the airport’s expansion plans were subject to close scrutiny and were found to be warranted based on passenger traffic.
“Bottom line, our airport’s going places — flying high, so to speak,” said Coun. Mohini Singh.