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Nanaimo Airport

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. Nanaimoairport.com 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 NanaimoAirport.com.

Nanaimo Airport customer survey offers $2,500 prize

By | Uncategorized

Sharing your thoughts about Nanaimo Airport (YCD) could win you a $2,500 travel prize – just in time for the busy summer vacation season.

The Airport is conducting a customer survey as it seeks to provide even more travel options for Central Vancouver Islanders. B.C. residents who fill out the online survey can then enter a contest to win a $1,500 air travel voucher plus $1,000 in spending money. Deadline for entry is July 31, 2019.

The survey asks about your flying habits, use of Nanaimo Airport, destinations you have recently flown to, and destinations you’d like to be able to fly to in the future.

The air travel voucher prize can be used for Air Canada or WestJet flights out of Nanaimo Airport. Travellers can fly non-stop to Vancouver and Calgary year-round, and seasonally direct to Toronto. From those airport hubs, travellers can then connect to flights to hundreds of other destinations around the world.

Flying local during the busy summer travel season saves residents time and money. You can avoid the long lineups and major expense of ferry travel associated with flying out of Vancouver, which often also requires staying overnight in a hotel.

Using Nanaimo Airport allows you to avoid the congestion in terminals at other airports, where long long lines for boarding and security are common. You can call on the Blue Navigators volunteer ambassadors in the YCD terminal to help make your travelling experience stress-free.

And parking near the terminal is plentiful thanks to Nanaimo Airport’s expanded lots, which offer reasonable rates for short-term and long-term parking.

Whether you’re heading out on vacation or for business, remember to be at the airport at least 90 minutes prior to your scheduled departure. That allows time to check baggage and pick up your boarding pass. You must have checked in, obtained your boarding pass and deposited all checked baggage at the baggage drop-off counter 45 minutes before your flight.

Nanaimo Airport opens expanded terminal this fall

By | Airport Improvements, Uncategorized

Keeping pace with growing demand for air travel, Nanaimo Airport’s Air Terminal Building expansion opens this fall. It’s on budget and ahead of schedule.

As structural steel work wraps up, crews pour new concrete floors and erect interior walls. Passengers will enjoy approximately 60 per cent more space and a modern, airy design when work finishes.

“We need to expand our infrastructure to ensure quality passenger service is maintained as the airport exceeds its historical passenger numbers,” explains Nanaimo Airport President and CEO Mike Hooper.

Nanaimo Airport last year became the second busiest on Vancouver Island. It’s behind only Victoria. It also set a record for passengers for the ninth straight year, moving 435,349 people through its gates. A seasonal Air Canada flight to Toronto resumes this summer after its successful debut in 2018. Air Canada also flies to Vancouver and WestJet offers daily flights to Vancouver and Calgary. That gives travellers direct connections to the country’s major air hubs from Nanaimo.

The airport’s multi-million expansion project began last April. Construction crews are enlarging the security area for faster baggage screening. They’re also doubling the number of seats in the departure lounge for comfort and convenience. The expanded terminal will have approximately 14,000 more sq. ft. It’s currently 23,680 sq. ft.

“We’re a bit ahead of schedule,” Hooper says. “That’s a tribute to all the planning we put into this project, and to the great work done by all the crews on site. We’ve been committed to maintaining the customer service we’re known for, and we appreciate all the patience shown by our users.”

The expansion has injected millions of dollars into the local economy. It helps fulfill Nanaimo Airport’s mandate as a key economic driver of regional growth.

Project manager Durwest Construction Management oversees numerous local contractors and suppliers. They include Checkwitch Poiron Architects, McCallan Construction Survey, Graf Excavating, Island Overhead Doors, Flynn Canada, Archie Johnstone Plumbing, Houle Electric, Holdfast Metalworks, Vescon Construction, G&G Roofing, Westwood Metals, Allmar International and Sloan Painting.

Blue Navigators offer friendly smiles, aid at busy Nanaimo Airport

By | Uncategorized

Many things are changing at Nanaimo Airport due to a major terminal building expansion. But one thing remains constant: a commitment to customer service.

The airport’s customer service team works relentlessly to make the travel experience as comfortable as possible. Thanks to them, construction has created minimal disruption even during a period of record passenger volume.

The Blue Navigators volunteers are a big part of Nanaimo Airport’s customer service. Known for their blue vests, they provide help and hospitality to airport users in the terminal. And they’ve gone out of their way to create a friendly atmosphere for travellers during the expansion work.

“We really appreciate the efforts of the Blue Navigators,” says airport President and CEO Mike Hooper. “It’s challenging to run a busy airport while undergoing major construction and they’ve made sure our customers are always taken care of.”

The ambassadors assist with information or travel-related needs. They provide special assistance for travellers with disabilities and mobility impairments. They answer questions about everything from parking to finding lost credit cards. And they serve as tourism ambassadors. They share information about Vancouver Island and maintain the airport’s travel information centre.

“Our Blue Navigators volunteers help take the stress out of travel. Their warm, friendly greetings are a great way to begin or end a trip,” says Laurie Hawthornthwaite, Nanaimo Airport Customer Service Coordinator.

Last year, 38 volunteers gave 5,450 hours of their time. Since the program began in June 2012, volunteers have been on duty for a remarkable 28,000 hours.

More volunteers with customer service experience are welcome to join the team. It’s an ideal role for retirees or high school and university students interested in volunteering in their community. To learn more about becoming a Blue Navigator, please contact Laurie Hawthornthwaite at 250-924-2157 Ext 268.

Nanaimo Airport now Island’s second busiest airport

By | Economic Impact, Uncategorized

After a record-setting year, Nanaimo Airport (YCD) now stands as Vancouver Island’s second busiest airport.

2018 saw 435,349 travellers on 800+ commercial flights pass through Nanaimo Airport gates. It’s the highest total in YCD history and the ninth straight year the airport has set a record. With Air Canada Rouge resuming its seasonal non-stop service to Toronto this summer, and WestJet offering daily flights to Vancouver and Calgary, Airport President and CEO Mike Hooper expects that streak to continue in 2019.

“We make it so easy and convenient for people to connect to Canadian and international destinations, and without the headache, hassles and expense of travelling to major airports like Vancouver or Victoria,” he says.

The airport is in the midst of a $15-million Air Terminal Building expansion. It includes an enlarged departure lounge and expanded security screening area, making the airport experience faster and more comfortable for people. Work is expected to be complete by fall 2019.

“The Nanaimo Airport team here has done an incredible amount of work to plan for and manage our rapid growth,” Hooper says. “We’re investing in our infrastructure and we’re implementing a 20-year master plan for developing our available land. That’s creating new opportunities for businesses and investors. We’re also making sure airlines know about the fantastic opportunity here to launch new routes and expand their existing service.”

The airport is also at the centre of the new Vancouver Island Foreign Trade Zone, which will help attract businesses that import and export goods.

Nanaimo Airport is a major economic driver for the region. It generated more than $ 370 million in economic activity for the region in 2018, and more than 2,000 jobs that support Central Island families. “Our operations create benefits for all of the communities we serve,” says Hooper. “All of our success is due to our dedicated team and to the strong partnerships we have built.”

An historic year: Toronto flight, record traffic, expansion

By | Airport Improvements

2018 was another record-breaking year for Nanaimo Airport.

More than 435,000 travellers went through our gates. Ground was broken on a $15-million expansion of our Air Terminal Building. A seasonal direct flight to Toronto launched (and will resume later this spring). And we completed a master land development plan that will guide our growth for the next 20 years.

Here’s a quick review of these and other highlights from 2018:

  • Direct Nanaimo-Toronto flight takes off

Business and leisure travellers jumped at the opportunity to travel across the country in mere hours thanks to Air Canada’s non-stop seasonal service. And they can do it again this year as the flight to Toronto returns later this spring.

  • Passenger traffic soars

For the 10th consecutive year we smashed the previous record for the number of travellers. We’re proud to be Central Vancouver Island’s airport of choice.

  • Air Terminal Building expands

To accommodate the record-breaking traffic, we’re adding an extra 14,000 square feet to the terminal. Construction began in the spring and has progressed on time and on budget. Passengers will enjoy more room, comfort and convenience when the work wraps up in the fall of 2019.

  • Land development plan shapes future

Nanaimo Airport Commission created a 20-year master plan for our available land. It was produced after consulting with the communities we serve. The consultations culminated in a charette (planning forum) with our stakeholders to map out potential development strategies.

  • Infrastructure investments pay off

Improvements to the apron for aircraft along the runway, and to our parking areas, helped prepare us for continued growth.

  • Airport fuels jobs, economy

Our operations generated $358 million in economic activity for the region, and more than 2,000 jobs that support Central Island families. Our role as an economic driver will be enhanced by the inclusion of the airport in the new Vancouver Island foreign trade zone, which will help businesses import and export goods.

  • Community partnerships thrive

We happily supported many community projects, ranging from the B.C. Summer Games in the CVRD to the Nanaimo visit by the world-famous Snowbirds to the Festival of Lights in Ladysmith.

5 tips to simplify your winter travel

By | Simplify Your Travel, Travel Tips

Chasing the sun this winter? Planning ahead can ensure your flight gives you a vacation from stress as well as from local weather, says Nanaimo Airport’s Customer Care team.

The airport offers a convenient starting point for central Islanders looking to avoid congestion at larger airports, where lineups are long during the busiest travel time of the year. The central Island’s airport of choice offers hundreds of connecting flights through Air Canada and WestJet. And you don’t need an expensive ferry ride/hotel stay to take one.

To help your travel go smoothly, the Customer Care team offers the following tips:

    1. Arrive early
      Get to Nanaimo Airport at least 90 minutes before your flight. If you’re driving yourself, allow a few more minutes to park.
    2. Go through security as soon as you can
      More people travelling means more people – and baggage – going through security screening. Fortunately, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), which is responsible for screening, upgraded its system earlier this year to handle more volume. Even with the extra capacity, it’s a good idea to go through security early. You can then relax in the expanded departure lounge. There you’ll find TVs, a play area for kids, and food and beverage machines.
    3. Know what you can bring on board
      Not sure about the rules for liquids and gels? (Hint: If they’re smaller than 100ml, they can go in your carry-on.) CATSA provides a handy search tool for determining what you can bring on a flight at www.catsa-acsta.gc.ca/en/whatcanIbring.
    4. Check your flight and paperwork
      Before you leave for the airport, be sure to visit your airline’s website for up-to-the-minute flight information. And make sure you have the necessary paperwork for air travel.
    5. Ask for help
      Nanaimo Airport’s Customer Care team and volunteer Blue Navigators (in the bright blue vests) are on duty in the air terminal building to answer your questions.