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Nanaimo Airport

Airport pollinator project enhances eco-system for sustainable future

By Community

Nanaimo Airport is buzzing over its latest environmental stewardship project. The airport is exploring a pilot program with Pollinators Partnership Canada (PPC) to create habitat on its land for native pollinators such as bees.

The program would be valuable for natural ecosystems and food production. An estimated one-third of the food we eat is a result of an animal pollinator. And bees are the most important contributors.

“Our careful stewardship of our environment is one of the many ways we contribute to a sustainable future for the region we serve,” says Dave Devana, Nanaimo Airport president and CEO. “Collaborating with PPC gives us an opportunity to enhance the work we do.”

PPC is a registered charity that emphasizes conservation, education and research. “Creating habitat for native pollinators and other wildlife demonstrates the commitment of Nanaimo Airport to the community, supporting biodiversity, mitigating climate change, and enhancing ecosystem service provision,” says a PPC report.

The project is in the early stages. PPC has reviewed airport lands to identify options for the site of a pilot program. The Planning and Development Committee of the NAC Board then supported moving ahead with a pilot on 4 potential sites.

The pollinator project joins a list of Nanaimo Airport Commission green initiatives. They all fall under the umbrella of the airport’s comprehensive Environmental Management Plan. “This project proactively protects the environment and connects our business values to our social responsibilities,” Devana says.

In February the airport opened four electric vehicle fast-charging stations. They were funded by investment by the federal and provincial governments and the Commission. The stations are part of the move towards a low carbon economy and widespread adoption of zero-emission vehicles by 2040.

And a groundwater management plan with ongoing water monitoring continues to safeguard the Cassidy Aquifer. The aquifer is a precious resource valued by all in the region.

Nanaimo Airport’s new EV chargers help users, environment

By Airport Improvements

Nanaimo Airport has enhanced our customer service and environmental commitment. We’ve opened four electric vehicle fast-charging stations.

Two stations are in the main parking lot outside the terminal building. The other two are in the rental car area. Drivers can fully charge most Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) in one hour. They’ll get a driving range of around 400 km. The airport offers free one-hour charges through July 2, 2021.

“We take pride in being pro-active with our environmental stewardship and we are always looking to enhance our great customer service. These Level 3 fast-charging EV stations serve both strategic objectives,” says Dave Devana, President and CEO of Nanaimo Airport.

“The EV stations will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions while enabling us to embrace sustainability. Nanaimo Airport Commission is excited to do its part, in cooperation with the federal and provincial governments, to move towards a low carbon economy and widespread adoption of ZEVs by 2040.”

Natural Resources Canada’s Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment Initiative invested $200,000. The provincial CleanBC Go Electric Program and Nanaimo Airport invested $100,000 each. “We appreciate the support of Natural Resources Canada and the B.C. government to increase the EV fast-charging infrastructure along the Island’s most travelled highway,” Devana says.

Airport customers had requested ZEV charging facilities, he says. Passengers driving to the airport on battery power needed to use an EV charging station for the return home.

Nanaimo Airport Commission’s response to the requests support the vision of building a clean energy future. The federal government’s goal is to have 100 per cent of passenger vehicle sales be ZEV by 2040. More green options on roads will help reach that goal.

Nanaimo Airport consulted with leading EV infrastructure company ChargePoint to plan the charging stations. Island-based Durwest Construction led the installation.

The ZEV charging stations are among several environmental initiatives at Nanaimo Airport. In 2021 the Commission approved working with Pollinator Partnership Canada to pilot pollinator sites on airport lands.

Airport planning for $29M investment to help drive economic recovery

By Economic Impact

Nanaimo Airport Commission is taking a leadership position to help fuel the Central Island’s economic recovery with a $28.8-million infrastructure capital plan.

The investment over the next five years will enhance Nanaimo Airport’s infrastructure. It will provide additional route development options including Toronto, Edmonton, Kelowna and seasonal sun destinations.

“We’re pro-actively embracing our leadership role as a key economic driver for the region,” says Dave Devana, President and CEO. “Our investments will create jobs and opportunities with economic spin-offs that touch all corners of the region we serve. Our new infrastructure capital plan will help Nanaimo Airport and our region recover from the impact of the pandemic while ensuring the airport continues to meet the needs of leisure and business travellers for the next generation.

“We can safely reconnect travellers to the world when they’re ready to fly again. We’re looking to create even more options for our customers.”

Nanaimo Airport Commission adopted its 2021-2025 Financial Plan in November. The budget is based on a slow pandemic recovery with passenger traffic returning to 2019 levels by 2024.

“It’s important to note that no government taxes are used to finance our ongoing operations,” Devana adds. Nanaimo Airport Commission is a non-profit, self sufficient corporation. It generates revenue through passenger fees, parking fees and leases. All net income is reinvested in infrastructure improvements to enhance the airport. Government grants have helped fund capital projects, such as the new Airport Terminal Building, that enhance economic development opportunities in Central Vancouver Island.

The pandemic presented the airport with the most difficult financial challenges in its history. An estimated 181,072 passengers travelled through its gates in 2020. That’s down an estimated 63% from 2019. As a result, the airport forecasts a $1.4 million loss in 2020. It had anticipated a $2.5 million surplus in 2020.

“Our region depends on us for the transportation of people and critical supplies,” Devana notes. “Our Board of the Commission did a tremendous job of navigating extremely difficult circumstances to ensure we’ve been there for our communities.”

Nanaimo Airport: What’s Involved in Winter Operations Preparations?

By Uncategorized

Vancouver Island is lucky enough to experience less snow than the rest of the country, but to ensure the safety and reliability of flights, the YCD team still prepares early each year for any chance of a harsher than expected winter. These preparations include a variety of training programs and an entire fleet of snow removal and management vehicles. Here are a few details on what YCD’s winter preparation looks like:


 Snow and Ice Removal:

Snow removal techniques at Nanaimo Airport include a combination of the use of plow trucks, pickup trucks, runway sweepers, front end loaders, snowblowers and skid-steer loaders. We also have plenty of shovels, brooms, and urea spreaders to maintain a high level of safety both groundside and airside.  To keep surfaces ice-free, potassium acetate, sodium formate, urea or other de-icing materials are used. Different chemicals are used based on the severity of each situation and the area they are being used. Chemicals that are spread on the aircraft movement areas are later swept away ensuring the safety of the aircraft.  It is also imperative that Nanaimo Airport’s instrument landing system be kept clear of snow and ice. To ensure the highest level of safety is being maintained, regular inspections of the runways and all pathways are also conducted.

One of Nanaimo Airport’s Snowplows, pictured here towing a sweeper.


Aircraft Operations: 

Both WestJet and Air Canada teams also have winter de-icing processes in place. De-icing is removing snow and ice and preventing the future build upon the aircraft’s wings and tail. De-icing fluid, typically a mixture of glycol and water, is sprayed under pressure to remove the snow and ice.

Crews hard at work, deicing for an early morning flight.


Terminal Operations: 

Staff at Nanaimo Airport are trained to be diligent with ensuring the operations inside the terminal also remain safe for passengers. During the winter months, this includes increased cleaning of wet floors,  plowing and shovelling of parking and pedestrian paths, as well as regular updates on our social media pages to let passengers know of any road conditions that may cause delays. To see these alerts or any other updates, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


Want to read more about YCD? Check out the safety measures we have underway to help keep you safe. Click here.

Safety programs provide peace of mind for air travel

By Advisory, Uncategorized

If you’re unsure about air travel this winter, enhanced safety protocols can give you some peace of mind.

Nanaimo Airport (YCD) and its airline partners Air Canada and WestJet have taken comprehensive steps to reduce the coronavirus risk. And new trial programs being conducted in Vancouver and Calgary airports may lead to replacing the 14-day quarantine requirement for domestic and international flights. In Vancouver, for example, passengers could get virus test results in as little as 15 minutes.

“The risk of catching an infection on an aircraft is typically lower than in a shopping centre or office environment,” says the International Air Transport Association, the aviation industry’s global trade organization. And the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency, rates the likelihood of contracting the virus while on flights as “extremely low.”

Nanaimo Airport’s layered approach to airport safety includes a touchless parking app and self baggage tagging at check in (coming soon), mandatory masks and physical distancing. The measures are in addition to enhanced cleaning and sanitization protocols that help protect the entire airport community, from travellers to YCD staff to employees of businesses based at YCD.

Once aboard planes, passengers benefit from even more safety protocols implemented by Air Canada and WestJet. The steps range from using hospital-grade disinfectant while defogging planes to screening travellers with temperature checks before boarding.

Powerful HEPA filters in the planes have a bacteria and virus removal efficiency rate of more than 99 per cent. “Very few travelers know that the HEPA filters circulate new air into the cabin 20 to 30 times per hour, and the circulation is primarily top down so any contaminants are removed from the cabin through the floor,” explains Dave Devana, President and CEO of Nanaimo Airport.

YCD connects travellers to airline hubs in Vancouver and Calgary. Both airports are conducting Rapid Testing Programs that could reduce or eliminate the need for passengers to quarantine.

Devana says Nanaimo Airport and its partners continue to make passenger safety the priority. “When our customers are ready to travel we will provide a safety-first environment.”

Raymond Collishaw: A hero to be remembered

By Uncategorized

Lest We Forget.

We would like to thank and remember all of our past and present Armed Forces, who sacrificed so much for our freedom. On this day of remembrance, we would also like to pay a special tribute to one of those heroes, specifically, our terminal namesake, Raymond Collishaw.

Raymond Collishaw

The Nanaimo Airport Terminal Building was named in honor of World War 1 flying Ace Air Vice Marshall Raymond Collishaw in October of 1999. Our namesake was a Vancouver Island resident born in Nanaimo on November 22, 1893.  He had an illustrious flying career and was the second-highest scoring Ace of World War One.

Collishaw started his career in the Royal Navy Air Service. He joined up when war broke out in Europe and was the commander of the famous all Canadian ‘Black Flight’ squadron. He flew the famous Sopwith triplane named ‘Black Maria’. This was the era of straight forward air dueling where luck and skill won the day. Collishaw was known for his incredible flying abilities, cheerful disposition and was second only to the famous Billy Bishop in the number of aircraft victories with 60, by the end of WWI.

Collishaw had many achievements including the highest number of victories flying the Sopwith Triplane. He would go on to be the commander of three squadrons before the first world war was over.  He received numerous medals and commendations including the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Order with a bar, and the Distinguished Flying cross. Collishaw  finished the war flying bombing raids from France to Germany.

When the war ended, Collishaw elected to remain in the air service, initially serving in Russia and finally attaining the rank of Air Vice-Marshall following distinguished service during the Second World War in the Western Desert.

Collishaw retired from the RAF in July 1943 and settled in Vancouver with his family.

The CBC archives have an excellent documentary interviewing Vice Marshall Raymond Collishaw in 1969 which can be seen here.


Airport remains vital to regional prosperity

By Community

Central Vancouver Island has a vested interest in the rebound of air travel at the Nanaimo Airport (YCD). The airport plays a vital role in so many aspects of residents’ everyday life.

The airport is one of the key drivers of the regional economy. It created $486 million in direct and indirect economic output last year. Operations generated 2,750 direct and indirect jobs that support Central Island families. It significantly impacts the tourism, real estate, education and technology sectors. An economic impact study shows that constrained growth at the airport will limit prosperity throughout the region.

The airport is also the Central island’s gateway to the world. It connects residents to with friends, families, destinations, jobs and commercial markets outside of the region. Last year a record 491,499 leisure and business travellers passed through its gates. Nanaimo Airport ranked number one in passenger growth percentage over the last decade among similar or larger B.C. airports.

All the growth has been the result of careful planning by the not-for-profit Nanaimo Airport Commission. The airport is under federal jurisdiction but it receives no direct government funding. It pays its operating and capital expenditures from revenue it generates. The airport is not funded by property, sales or income taxes.

The COVID 19 pandemic presents the airport with the most challenging time in its existence. Nanaimo Airport has remained open throughout. It ensures the continued safe and essential movement of goods, services, aircraft, and people.

Passenger counts were down 95 per cent in April and May due to restrictions on non-essential air travel. Passenger counts have improved since then. But they were still down 70 per cent in August, creating an uncertain economic future.

YCD’s thorough health and safety measures protect passengers, staff and all other members of the airport campus. “Please know that when our customers are ready to travel we will provide a safety-first environment,” says Nanaimo Airport Commission President and CEO Dave Devana.

Continued community support for the airport is critical, he says. “Regional airports, including YCD, are not expected to fully recover until 2023/24. This will significantly affect the regional economy, especially the tourism/leisure sector.”

A safe and healthy workplace at Nanaimo Airport

By Safety Updates

Helping its staff stay healthy during the pandemic reflects Nanaimo Airport’s commitment to its team. It’s also part of the airport’s commitment to passenger safety.

The airport introduced new workplace safety protocols when COVD-19 hit earlier this year. The measures support team members and reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. The protocols also help staff keep their families, as well as travellers, healthy and safe.

Some of the workplace actions include:

  • Additional disinfecting

Nanaimo Airport has dedicated more hours every day for enhanced cleaning. The janitorial team regularly disinfects high-touch surfaces, including tables, light switches and doorknobs.

  • Personal protective equipment

The airport provides masks, gloves and hand sanitizer for its employees. Staff wear masks when they can’t safely distance from other workers or the public. This includes the Air Terminal Building, hallways, stairways, meeting and lunch rooms (other than when eating) and shop facilities.

  • Plexiglas barriers

Barriers have been added to counters in the Air Terminal Building. This includes check-in counters, boarding gates, customer service counters and car rental counters. The barriers protect employees of the airport and its business partners, passengers and the public.

  • Sanitizing vehicles

Staff using company vehicles sanitize steering wheels, seatbelts, door handles, etc. They use a disinfectant spray or wipe. Masks are required when two or more people are in an airport vehicle.

  • Working from home

For appropriate positions, Nanaimo Airport accommodates employees working remotely. It ensures they have the tools and equipment needed to create a safe and functional home work space. This protocol is especially helpful for employees who have underlying health issues or are immune-compromised. It also helps protect their families.

  • Supporting employee wellness

The airport works with its team members to ensure they self-monitor for any signs of illness before every shift. Employees are directed to remain at home if they experience any COVID-19 symptoms.

Nanaimo Airport safety measures give travellers confidence

By Advisory, Safety Updates, Uncategorized

As always, safety is Nanaimo Airport’s (YCD) top priority. The airport has taken additional safety and hygiene precautions to reduce the risk of spreading disease so people can travel with confidence.

Operating under federal jurisdiction, YCD facilitates air service that keeps critical supply lines open. Airports also play a key role in the country’s economic recovery. YCD connects businesses to their markets and helps to keep people employed.

To continue those essential roles, the airport’s COVID-19 action plan reduces risks for travellers, employees, business partners, contractors and other members of the YCD community.

Here’s what you can expect when using Nanaimo Airport:

·         Limited terminal access

To reduce risk to everyone, it’s important that only essential employees and travellers enter the terminal building. If you’re picking up or dropping someone off, please park in the short-term area immediately outside the terminal and wait in your vehicle. If you must go inside to assist someone, one person is allowed.

  • Carry a mask

For your safety, Nanaimo Airport requires everyone to wear a mask or face covering at all times in the terminal building.  Masks are required for all passengers during security screening, boarding, and during your flight. You may not be allowed to check-in or board your flight without one. (All passengers must also undergo a temperature check before boarding the aircraft.)

  • Increased sanitization

The airport has increased cleaning and disinfecting of common touch points such as luggage carts, gate counters and bathrooms. For your convenience, additional hand sanitizing units have been added throughout the terminal.

  • Social distancing barriers

Plexiglass barriers and 2-meter floor markings throughout the terminal help users maintain safe distancing. Nanaimo Airport’s roomy new departure lounge allows plenty of social distancing while you wait for your flight.

  • Online parking app

You can reduce touchpoints by using the Honk mobile app to pay for parking.

Transfer Beach: A local favourite.

By Travel Tips

If you ask any resident of Ladysmith where the most popular place for family gatherings, beach days, kayak sessions or enjoying fresh food from a food truck by a water park, they’ll likely tell you that it’s Transfer Beach; one of Vancouver Island’s many beloved beaches. Located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, in a picturesque harbour surrounded by hills of Douglas Fir and Western Cedars, Transfer Beach has captured local’s and tourist’s hearts alike.

Some of the summer activities enjoyed at Transfer Beach include swimming, picnicking, Frisbee, beach volleyball and kayaking. For children there is a playground and a water spray park. There is also the sandy beach and swimming, as well as kayak, paddle board and canoe rentals. Transfer Beach also includes an off-leash dog area, making it a popular area for long strolls with furry family members.

“Transfer Beach, Ladysmith BC” by maplemusketeer is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Aside from public recreational activities, there’s even more to this scenic park than meets the eye.  All throughout the grounds are bits of history with plaques and information on them for visitors to enjoy and learn even more about the community. Not a history buff? These benches are also popular spots for bird watching. Some of the birds in the area include Bald Eagles, Blue Herons and lots of seagulls.

Are you wondering why the Transfer Beach gained its name? In the early 1900’s, the beach was part of the shoreline that housed a facility for off-loading contents from the ferries carrying coal and lumber that sailed from Vancouver. It was near Transfer Beach that these goods were transferred, thus giving the picturesque area its namesake!

Transfer Beach is just 8 minutes South of Nanaimo Airport, with direct access off the Trans Canada Highway.


Looking for more things to do around Vancouver Island? Check out our Top 5 spots to explore in Port Alberni this summer!