Photo: Cindy White
Kelowna International Airport says the lifting of the vaccine mandate for domestic and outbound travelers and federally regulated workers should help with a manning crunch.
It should help fill in some of the gaps in staffing at Kelowna International Airport.
As of Monday, the federal government has suspended its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for domestic and outbound travelers and federally regulated workers, including those in aviation.
“It’s a big step in several ways,” said Phillip Elchitz, senior manager of airport operations at YLW.
“Firstly, it really gives people who have been restricted to air travel the opportunity to start traveling, and it’s really important financially and for the people who have not had the opportunity to travel.
“The second piece is that it really enables the aviation industry now to start attracting more employees. Employees who have either been fired or who they simply could not hire because they were not vaccinated,” Elchitz explains.
He says all areas of the industry have been deficient, so that should help open the door for more potential employees.
“We feel it will really start to remedy the problems we have with the staff. Which will result in faster check-in times, hopefully shorter lines at the security checkpoint and a whole lot of other issues related to aviation and airports.”
Airports across the country have been plagued with long queues and delays in recent months. This is not only due to staff shortages, but also due to the sharp increase in the number of people flying now that pandemic restrictions have been lifted.
Elchitz stresses that air travelers must still arrive at the airport at least two hours before their flight and be prepared.
“The other piece that is so important is to understand what you can do at home.
“Check in at home, online, and when you get to the airport, use the kiosks, the self-service kiosks, to print your luggage tag. And then you get in a queue that is actually much shorter, the baggage claim line, than you would if you had to check in. , when you’re here. “