What does it take for an airline to start up a newservice in the community?
Airports across the country spend considerable time and resources each year in their pursuit of carriers. Nanaimo Airport is no different. YCD has been working to attract or expand services with major carriers such as Air Canada and WestJet for years. “Our team just met again with both of these carriers in person earlier this summer,” shares Mike Hopper CEO.
A new market or destination is a multi-million dollar decision for the airlines that is weighed carefully. There are many individual factors that go into such a decision. The first decisions are around core features such as geographic location, facilities, length of runway, and weather reliability. From there it’s about profitability and how many passengers are going to be available on the route.
Hooper points out, “In most cases the schedule will be offered seven days a week, 52 weeks per year, which means they have to be sure there will be enough passengers to sustain the route long term”. Then when the carrier’s research deems the route as potentially profitable, the last big hurdle they face is freeing up aircraft time to service the new route.
The YCD team know this process takes time, however the availability of features such as improved weather reliability, now over 99%, and an extended runway that easily handles aircraft such as Air Canada’s CRJ, WestJet’s 737-700 and the Q400 mean it’s only a matter of time.
“We believe both carriers see potential in offering expanded or new services from Nanaimo in the future. YCD has the core features the carriers desire and we are moving ever closer to meet their required passenger numbers, thanks to double digit growth numbers through 2012”, shares Hooper.
This optimism is reinforced by the expanded schedules and services central island residents enjoyed this summer from YCD. This included 12 return flights each business day to the lower mainland to connect onto the world.