The Nanaimo Airport has been crossing many firsts off the list in the past six months. The first WestJet Encore flight to Calgary, the first year passenger numbers exceeded 200,000 and now the first 737 aircraft to carry passengers to YCD since the runway expansion in 2009.
In late December and again in early January an Enerjet charter 737 aircraft touched down with Central Island residents who are workers in the resource industry near Kitimat. “The December trip was dropping the workers off for the holidays,” shares Mike Hooper, Nanaimo Airport President & CEO. “Then the charter returned them to their worksite on January 5.”
A growing number of airport users are resource workers who commute to either Alberta or Northern BC.“It’s great that these workers and their families can continue to live in Central Vancouver Island, and still take advantage of these resource industry jobs”, explains Hooper. “It’s our job to help make the commute as simple as possible. This can be achieved by new direct service, more frequency or assisting with direct charters like this Enerjet one.”
Thanks to the runway expansion, which was designed to accommodate 737 – 700 aircraft, YCD hopes to welcome this type of aircraft at least once a week in the future. Residents who are uncertain what this will mean to noise levels, should not be concerned.Based on the speed of the aircraft, the noise footprint will be very similar to the current scheduled aircraft using the airport.
It is estimated that the Nanaimo Airport activities contributes more than 700 direct and indirect jobs to the community in 2013. A powerful economic engine for the region, YCD is expected to contribute $78 million to the local economy by 2016.