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
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
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.
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 This had been replaced by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.