Things are changing at the Nanaimo Airport. First there was the announcement that WestJet Encore will begin non-stop service from Nanaimo to Calgary on June 24. “This new carrier and service is key to Nanaimo Airport’s continued growth to ensure safe, reliable transportation for Central Vancouver Island residents,” shares Mike Hooper, President and CEO of the Nanaimo Airport.
Next, a new type of aircraft will be in the skies overhead. WestJet Encore will be using the, Q400 aircraft. According to Bombardier’s Q400 NextGen publication: “The Q400 NextGen aircraft has transformed the perception of turboprops. Optimized for short-haul operations, the 70 to 80 seat Q400 NextGen aircraft is a larger, fast, quiet, and fuel-efficient turboprop.”
“There are many great benefits to our community with WestJet Encore’s selection of this new aircraft,” explains Hooper. “The Q400 is 15 decibels quieter than current in-production jets of similar size and sets a new environmental standard, using 30%-40% less fuel than older jets, so reduces carbon emissions.” The reduction in decibels makes the noise footprint of the Q400 2.5 times smaller than if WestJet Encore was to use a 70 seat in-production regional jet.
A third change will be a bit more difficult to see. Airports are strong economic generators, and this additional airline will also mean more economic spin offs to our communities. In 2012 it is estimated that the activities at Nanaimo Airport were responsible for 712 full time jobs (direct and indirect) and $54 million (direct and indirect) for the economy. By 2016 that is estimated to grow to 1,107 jobs and $78.7 million per year for the economy.