The director of the Kelowna International Airport has been elected the chair of the Canadian Airports Council.
Sam Samaddar has served as the council’s vice-chair since 2016. He will replace outgoing chair Howard Eng, the president and chief executive officer of Greater Toronto Airports Authority.
The CAC bills itself as “the voice for Canada’s airports community.” Its 53 members represent more than 100 airports across the country.
In a media release announcing Samaddar’s election, Eng said it has been a “pleasure” to work with him over the past two years.
“Sam brings extensive knowledge of the airport industry and has been instrumental in his airport’s successful growth over the past decade, promoting the efficient movement of people and goods, and providing travellers with access to more air service options to the community,” he said.
Samaddar began his career in the industry at the Vancouver International Airport in 1988. In 1992, he began working for the Kelowna International Airport as superintendent of airport operations. In 2008, he was appointed airport director.
YLW has seen significant growth in recent years, breaking passenger records each month since May 2017. Last year, close to 1.9 million people passed through its doors; that number is expected to balloon to 3.5 million people by 2045.
The growth has lead to congestion and overcrowding both in the airport and its parking lot, and Samaddar has overseen the creation of a massive, decades-long expansion plan designed to help YLW keep up with demand.
Taking place over several phases, the master plan buildout will eventually add three new baggage claim areas, more concession space, more space for pre-boarding screening, and a separate throughway for arriving international passengers.
Samaddar said he is excited to bring this and other experience to his new role with the CAC.
“I look forward to my new role with the CAC, as the national trade association working with government and other industry stakeholders to provide travellers with safe, comfortable air access that connects Canada with the world,” he said in a news release.
In addition to serving as chair of the CAC, Samaddar also joins the executive committee of ACI-NA, the parent organization for the CAC that represents airports throughout the U.S. and Canada.
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