All Posts By

Nanaimo Airport

New Nanaimo Airport CEO a leader and innovator

By | Uncategorized

Nanaimo Airport’s new President and Chief Executive Office is an innovator with a focus on environmental stewardship and economic development.

Dave Devana assumed the airport’s top position in May. He succeeds the retiring Mike Hooper. For more than 20 years Devana led organizations as Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and Chief Financial Officer in local government. He’s a resident of north Nanaimo, where he lives with his wife.

“Dave is a motivational leader with a wealth of senior management experience,” says Wendy Clifford, Chair of the Nanaimo Airport Commission. “His background makes him uniquely suited to fulfill our vision of being ‘Your Island Gateway to the World’.”

“I am looking forward to working with the Board and the staff to provide a safe, efficient and expanded airport service to our customers,” Devana says. “I also see a great opportunity to apply my skills to partner with local governments, First Nations, non-governmental organizations and business to expand the economic impact of the airport. I am eager to get started working with our partners to enhance our communities.”

Devana spent seven years as CAO for the District of North Cowichan. He was CAO with the Town of Cochrane in Alberta before coming to Nanaimo Airport. Here he oversees Vancouver Island’s second busiest airport and leads a team of 28 employees.

Devana also served as Director of Finance and Deputy CAO in both Sooke and Yellowknife. His peers in local government regard him as an innovator and leader.

He has a broad skillset. He’s a Certified Professional Accountant (CPA). His background includes:

  • land use
  • environmental stewardship
  • government relations and funding
  • financial management
  • strategic planning
  • human resources
  • labour relations

“He brings land development experience that will assist us in implementing long range commercial development and bring economic and employment opportunities to the region,” adds Commission Vice-Chair Dave Witty.

Former CEO Hooper is retiring after 14 years at the helm.

Front-line workers are “unsung heroes,” says Nanaimo Airport

By | Community

Front-line workers at Nanaimo Airport and across Canada are unsung heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic, says airport CEO and President Mike Hooper.

Hooper also thanks first responders and other emergency personnel. Their work keeps Central Islanders, and all Canadians, healthy and safe.

“They are all doing excellent work. It benefits everyone, from providing us critical health care to ensuring we can buy food,” he says. “They’re providing the essential services we need. They’re keeping our communities running during these challenging times. On behalf of the Nanaimo Airport, I want to publicly acknowledge and thank them.”

“Their dedication is an inspiration,” he adds. “We owe them and their families our thanks for all they do on our behalf.”

Staff at Nanaimo Airport and our business partners ensure essential travel and shipping continues. Our team includes everyone from baggage handlers to customer service representatives. Maintenance crews and the Blue Navigator volunteers also make important contributions.

Business partners have a variety of front-line workers on duty. They staff the security area for baggage and customer screening. They keep airline flight counters open. They run the flight services centre that monitors air traffic. Other services include fuel and cargo.

Nanaimo Airport Commission has added precautions to reduce the COVID-19 risk. The steps help keep our workplace safe for employees, partners and contractors.

Our janitorial staff is disinfecting common use surfaces throughout the Air Terminal Building. This includes bathrooms, the departure lounge and luggage carts. We have also installed more hand sanitizer dispensers.

We have monitored the coronavirus outbreak since it was first reported in early January. “Safety has always been our priority throughout our operations,” says Hooper.

“Our front-line workers are doing a tremendous job. We’re very proud of the service they’ve provided as our business copes with the impact of the pandemic.”

Nanaimo Airport building on foundation for tomorrow

By | Economic Impact

Nanaimo Airport’s (YCD) expanded Air Terminal Building is the latest piece of the airport’s foundation for tomorrow.

The terminal is one of the pillars of Nanaimo Airport Commission’s five-year Strategic Plan, which charts the flight path for the next generation of air service in Central Vancouver Island. The plan guides decision-making at one of B.C.’s fastest growing regional airports. It, in essence, builds YCD’s future.

Infrastructure such as the terminal building plays a major role in the vision for today and tomorrow. Construction of the $14.2-million terminal expansion provides immediate benefits, giving passengers more room and comfort while helping them to move through the airport more efficiently.

The new building also ushers in the future, thanks to the Commission’s 20-year plan for terminal expansion. The plan uses an innovative modular design. Each stage is designed to connect seamlessly to the one before and after it.

In the years ahead, infrastructure improvements create potential for a sizeable return on investment. The enlarged terminal building, coupled with enhancements to runway aprons, makes Nanaimo Airport even more attractive to airlines. And that could lead to new routes based here. There’s plenty of room and other amenities necessary to accommodate the large jets that fly to sun destinations such as Hawaii and Mexico.

Investment has also created additional airport parking to meet demand. Passengers now have 1,200 stalls to choose from.

Another pillar that supports the airport’s operations today and in the future is a Climate Change Action Plan. Work began last year to assess and plan for the impact of climate change, to ensure the airport’s sustainability for generations.

Sustainability is also the driving factor in the airport’s land use planning – another piece of the foundation for tomorrow. Land development on vacant areas will provide economic benefit to the community while diversifying the airport’s revenue stream.

As all the foundation pieces are put in place, safety remains the airport’s priority. One of the latest initiatives was the purchase of a second Air Rescue and Fire Fighting vehicle, increasing the capacity for emergency response.

For information on Nanaimo Airport’s COVID-19 response visit

Expansion, bus service, and a record year at Nanaimo Airport

By | Airport Improvements

Fresh off another record-setting year, Nanaimo Airport (YCD) opens 2020 with even more milestones.

A multi-million-dollar Air Terminal Building expansion has been completed. It came in ahead of schedule and under budget. The expansion adds 14,000 square feet for passenger convenience. It’s needed to meet increased demand.

It also provides a larger security area that will be able to serve 1,000 people per hour in the future. Our passengers can move through security screening and the baggage check far faster. Before the expansion, fewer than 200 people per hour could move through the line. Screening is the responsibility of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.

A ribbon cutting ceremony later this month will officially open the expanded terminal building space.

Travellers also benefit from BC Transit’s new airport bus service. It connects us and the Cassidy community to downtown Nanaimo. Launched in January, the service provides five buses per day from early morning to early evening. Travellers now have even more transportation options to and from the Central Island’s airport of choice.

The service enhancements all fit into our plan for continuous improvement. The plan helps us keep up with record demand that is far ahead of projections.

Some 490,000 people moved through our gates in 2019. It was the 11th record-breaking year in a row as YCD continues to be one of B.C.’s fastest growing airports of its size. A seasonal flight to Toronto and additional connecting flights to travel hubs in Vancouver and Calgary helped pushed passenger numbers to the new high.

Nanaimo is now Vancouver Island’s second busiest airport. Passenger volume is about a decade ahead of forecasts. And airport CEO and President Mike Hooper expects the trend to continue.

“We have a fabulous foundation for growth of passenger service, aerospace development, cargo development and ground side developments,” he says.

Nanaimo Airport provides 2,700 direct and indirect jobs that support Central Island families. We’re a major economic driver for the region too. We generated an estimated $486 million in economic impact in 2019.

Nanaimo Airport takes stress out of winter travel

By | Advisory

Making winter travel plans? Nanaimo Airport can connect you to global destinations without the lineups and general congestion you’ll find at larger airports. And you don’t need to take a ferry, or stay in a hotel, to catch a flight close to home.

The airport’s amenities reduce the stress of travel during one of the busiest seasons of the year. Parking lots have expanded so finding a reasonably-priced spot for vehicles is easier. The enlarged security screening area means passengers can check their baggage in less time.

A major expansion of the Air Terminal Building is adding more charging stations for devices. And vending machines in the passenger lounge offer a selection of snacks and drinks to grab before boarding.

Travellers can also count on the friendly team of Blue Navigators for assistance in the terminal. The volunteer ambassadors, wearing bright blue vests, can answer questions and provide information to help get you on your way.

Here are some tips from Nanaimo Airport’s Customer Care team to help your trip go smoothly:

  1. Pack your carry-on by the rules

Use the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority website if you’re not sure what you’re allowed to carry on to the plane.

  1. Check your flight and paperwork before leaving home

Do you have the necessary paperwork for air travel?  Have you checked the federal government’s Travel Advice and Advisories page? And don’t forget to visit your airline’s website and for up-to-the-minute flight information.

  1. Arrive early

Plan to be at the airport at least 90 minutes before your flight. That’ll give you time to breathe rather than rush.

  1. Check your bags right away

Head for security screening as soon as you have checked in with your airline. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority handles screening. Once you’re clear, you can kick back in the expanded departure lounge and enjoy TV, a play area for kids, and food and beverage machines in comfort.



Airport initiating a climate change action plan

By | Economic Impact, Uncategorized

Nanaimo Airport is taking a leadership role in addressing climate change.

As part of its commitment to environmental stewardship, the airport has begun work on a climate change action plan. It’s one of only a few B.C. airports to take the step. A select number of the country’s much larger airports including Vancouver and Toronto, have their own plans.

Nanaimo Airport Commission has initiated a plan because it is the right thing to do as a good corporate citizen. It’s also necessary to ensure sustainable operations. Climate change has the potential to impact everything from air traffic control to the terminal, cargo, fire service and even road access. Possible hazards include flooding, heat damage to infrastructure and buildings, increased risk of fire and wind damage and  impacts on airport users and suppliers.

The commission has a working group and engaged a consultant with specific expertise to steer the plan’s development.

Getting the initial data is a big job requiring an extensive inventory that tracks emissions. The inventory could include everything from the source of emissions, such as vehicles and equipment, to the quantity emitted. Other sources to be considered could include buildings and facilities, energy generation, and waste management.

Once the data is available, the working group would create a strategy to find ways to reduce the emissions. The use of technology and efficiency improvements, in collaboration with airport partners, is among the options.

The plan could also include a resilience response to deal with a host of factors that could arise while addressing climate change at the airport. These factors include regulatory changes, financial and insurance issues, physical design changes, and specific airport plans and policies.

Nanaimo Airport Commission is following a coordinated strategy to develop the plan. It starts with deciding the scope of the project and continues with an organizational plan for an action team, including resources and a work plan.


Nanaimo Airport takes its focus on Safety to new level

By | Uncategorized

Nanaimo Airport has always made safety and security its priority. As a result, it’s become known for its safety-driven culture.
And now the airport is taking it a step further as part of its philosophy of continuous improvement. Nanaimo Airport Commission (NAC) is expanding its risk management program to cover all of its operations.

“We’re developing an enterprise risk-management (ERM) system that incorporates all components of our business,” explains airport president and CEO Mike Hooper. “We want to ensure that we have everything in place to continue our success.”

The new program looks at everything from financial implications of airport decisions to the consequences of an earthquake to staffing and future capital investments.

The new program already has a solid base. The commission has safety, security and business risk systems in place. And an independent review rated the commission’s culture and risk leadership above average. The report compared Nanaimo with other airports of similar sizes and complexity.

“The Board is in full support of addressing risk-related issues and wishes to ensure that all types of risk are addressed to support the achievement of NAC’s strategic goals and objectives,” says the report by MNP LLP.

“The existing culture of training, hazard awareness and procedures represents a solid foundation for NAC to evolve into a more holistic approach to risk management,” the report adds.

Building on that foundation, the ERM system will help reduce exposure to risks. It will also make better use of opportunities for growth, and overall will allow the airport to be more successful.

“We’ve got a number of systems and we’re bringing them together,” Hooper says. “Our customers probably won’t notice much change. But behind the scenes we will be making improvements that will ensure Nanaimo Airport’s ongoing viability as a major transportation hub for Vancouver Island.”

The improvements will be based on leading practices in risk management.

Airport raises region’s profile with national audiences

By | Community, Uncategorized

Nanaimo Airport (YCD) gives Central Vancouver Island a two-way connection with the rest of the world.

The region’s global gateway allows residents to travel to thousands of destinations. And it often brings national attention to the Island. The spotlight raises our profile and benefits tourism, business, education and other sectors.

This summer, for example, the airport played a supporting role on an episode of The Amazing Race Canada. It’s the country’s most-watched summer TV series. Viewers watched contestants race through a series of challenges in the Central Island before heading to the airport.

YCD served as the backdrop for one of the most intense moments of the show’s season. The teams got into a heated discussion about their gamesmanship. When things cooled off, the racers boarded a plane to head to their next adventure, in Saskatoon. A graphic then showed the national audience how Nanaimo Airport connects the Island to the rest of the country.

The airport also played a role in another recent event that focused media attention on Nanaimo. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds 431 Air Demonstration Squadron performed high above the city’s downtown harbour. The pilots enthralled thousands of local residents as well as an online audience.

The famed pilots have made several appearances here. Nanaimo Airport provides an opportunity for them to meet with their fans. Last year, the Snowbirds came to Nanaimo Airport as Ambassadors of the C.H.I.L.D Foundation. The charity supports children with liver diseases. The aces spent time with C.H.I.L.D kids and gave them tours of their jets on the airport taxiway.

YCD has played a role in other high-profile events too. They all showcased Central Vancouver Island on the national and international stages.

In 2018, the BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley used the airport as its main gathering point. Hundreds of athletes flew in from around the province. And big-name performers have landed at YCD on their way to the stage at SunFest, Laketown Shakedown and other major Island music festivals.

Communication with our neighbours guides Nanaimo Airport

By | Community

Getting information about Nanaimo Airport (YCD), and offering your feedback, has never been easier.

The airport values communication with the communities and people it serves. Its part of our commitment to being a good corporate citizen and neighbour. That communication, in fact, is one of YCD’s guiding principles. And building partnerships and encouraging contributions is one of our strategic goals.

Staying in touch, and welcoming input, is part of the airport’s role as a regional economic driver and helps support its long-range planning.

Sharing information is done in many ways. puts everything from flight status to expansion updates just an online click away. The website also hosts an archive of the Airport blog. We are happy to respond to your inquiries and feedback through the Contact Us page. You can follow YCD on social media through its official Facebook account as well as @FlyYCD on Twitter. You are welcome to share your images and video on our Instagram page @FlyYCD. There’s also a monthly column in Take 5.

Public interaction is emphasized at the many presentations around the Central Island made by airport representatives.

In June, for example, the airport sponsored a Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce luncheon. A full house heard from Air Canada Senior Vice-President Ferio Pugliese, who offered some promising insights for regional travellers. Pugliese called Nanaimo the “perfect” market for the airline’s new Airbus A220 when it goes into service. The audience also heard from Dave Witty, Vice Chair of the Nanaimo Airport Commission.

Throughout the year, airport officials make presentations to local governments in Nanaimo, the Regional District of Nanaimo, Ladysmith and the Cowichan Valley Regional District. YCD also partners with a variety of stakeholders, including local Chambers of Commerce, First Nations communities and Vancouver Island University.

Community input helps shape decisions at the airport, which is the second busiest on Vancouver Island. Last year, for example, YCD brought together stakeholders for a major charette that helped chart proposed land development. The results of the charette, and the airport’s subsequent land development plan, were then shared at public information sessions around the region.

Airport looks to create jobs, diversify with land development

By | Community

Nanaimo Airport aims to create new jobs and even more economic benefit for the region by developing some of its vacant land.

The airport has 50 hectares of prime land available. Marketing it to attract businesses and investors helps fulfill the airport’s role as a key economic partner for Vancouver Island. Experts estimate airport operations last year generated $486 million in economic direct and indirect activity.

Developing the land, which is under federal jurisdiction, will also help diversify the airport’s revenue base. By doing that, the airport remains financially feasible for future generations. It also provides services to the fast-growing residential population in our neighbourhood.

All development will be carefully planned. Last year, Nanaimo Airport Commission hosted a land design charrette and then followed it up with a number of public consultations. Valuable input was received from local and regional government representatives, First Nations, and community members.

The Commission is now working on a real estate development plan that will serve as a guide and allow the airport to reach its full potential. The airport already has created a land use plan, calling for development in phases.

The Commission follows several land use planning principles. One of them gives key consideration to environmentally sensitive resources in all decisions. Another provides opportunities for the public, stakeholders and other interested parties to provide input.

The principles further require the Commission to ensure the integrity of broad public involvement is paramount to the process and must not be superseded by any individual or interest group.

Airport operations are also paramount under the planning principles. All land uses shall either be airport-related or complimentary. Initially the commission is seeking to attract aviation-based businesses.

Nanaimo Airport offers businesses the opportunity to capitalize on record passenger volume at a well-serviced, mid-sized airport with competitive development costs. Work on a multi-million-dollar Air Terminal Building expansion wraps up this fall.

For more information, visit