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Airport a magnet for new trade zone jobs, businesses

By | Community, Economic Impact

Nanaimo Airport plays a key role in the new employment, business and investment opportunities created by Vancouver Island’s designation as a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ).

The zone makes it easier for local businesses to expand international trade. It also makes it easier for the region to attract foreign investment. As a premier transportation and logistics hub, the airport will be one of the zone’s major assets.

The designation was announced by federal government. It streamlines processes for companies in the region that want to import or export products and conduct trade with foreign markets. And it gives them easier access to government programs that defer taxes and duty.

“We’re in a great position to help them capitalize,” says Nanaimo Airport CEO Mike Hooper. “Our land and infrastructure is ready to go.”

The airport has about 51 acres of vacant land with excellent development potential. The different sizes of lots could accommodate aviation-related goods and services. As well, small warehouses and importers and exporters could locate there to gain the most benefit from the zone.

“A business importing products could land them on our runway, then sell them here and enjoy a tax break. And that’s just one scenario,” says Hooper.

The FTZ is only the 11th of its kind in Canada. It’s overseen by the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance. VIEA worked with Nanaimo Airport and other partners to secure the designation.

“Nanaimo Airport plays an important role in driving the regional economy,” Hooper says. “Being in a Foreign Trade Zone will enhance that role, and deliver even more benefit to the communities we serve.”

The airport’s economic impact touches all corners of the region. Nanaimo Airport currently generates $358 million and more than 2,000 jobs that support Central Island families. And that’s before factoring in the economic injection resulting from being in an FTZ.

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