The first site examinations for an airport at Penticton were conducted at two locations, by the Department of Transport (DOT), in 1937.  The selected site, part of which was on an Indian reserve, is west of and adjacent to the City of Penticton, and north of Skaha Lake.   The airport is 73 km north of the Canada-USA border.

Sixty-one hectares of land was expropriated from the Indian band in 1949, and preliminary development of the airfield was completed in 1941.  During the war years, the runway was paved and some buildings erected, to allow the use of the airfield as an emergency military aerodrome in 1944.

In 1945, a temporary airport license was issued, in the name of the DOT, for 24 hour operation.  An additional 49 hectares of land was acquired from the Indian band in 1946, to accommodate airport expansion.  At that time the airport was used by Trans-Canada Airlines and Canadian Pacific Airlines (CPAL).  Aeradio service was established in 1948.

In 1954 the temporary operating license was replaced with a permanent license.  In 1959, the runway was extended, from 5,400 ft. to 6,000 ft. in length.  A new air terminal was opened in 1963.  In 1968 CPAL provided two schedules flights daily; this service was taken over in 1969 by Pacific Western Airlines, using Boeing 737 aircraft.  At that time air travel services were also provided by Northern Thunderbird Air Limited.


A mobile control tower was installed in 1969; this was replaced in 1971 when the ATB was expanded to accommodate a permanent control tower, plus space for a aeradio and telecommunications staff.  In 1976, a private- owned aviation center was constructed on the airport including a 12-unit motel, flight training school, and aircraft overhaul shop.  The overhaul shop is no longer in operation.

tower.gif (4955 bytes)

In 1988, Canadian Airlines(formerly PWA), withdrew jet service from Penticton.  This had been replaced by Time Air and AirBC, using turboprop aircraft. The airport now serves as a water bomber base for the area.   Helicopter flight and training is also provided here.  As well as scheduled service, the airport serves as a port of entry for U.S. fisherman.  History Photo