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Airport Improvements

Nanaimo Airport helps travellers reconnect this summer

By Airport Improvements

As summer travel season arrives, Nanaimo Airport (YCD) is making it easier for Canadians coast to coast to reconnect. At the same time, it’s enticing more visitors to the Central Island.

A new #ReconnectWithCanada campaign promotes travel between east and west. The airport is partnering in the campaign with Halifax Airport, which in May launched a direct flight to Vancouver.

YCD also welcomed back the seasonal Air Canada Rouge direct flight to Toronto last month. It’s in addition to the full schedule of flights to Vancouver and Calgary offered by Air Canada and WestJet.

“We’re working to symbolize all of Canada reconnecting post COVID-19,” says Dave Devana, President and CEO of Nanaimo Airport Commission. “Nanaimo to Toronto is a direct flight. Halifax to Nanaimo is an easy one-stop flight connecting both coasts. A morning flight from Nanaimo can get travellers to many global destinations later that same day.”

And travellers using Nanaimo Airport don’t have to worry about the endless lineups and hours-long waits plaguing larger airports.

#ReconnectWithCanada focuses on reconnecting travellers with family, friends and loved ones. It also encourages travellers to reconnect with travel, nature and Canada.

“We’re the Central Island’s gateway to the world and we’re also the world’s gateway to Vancouver Island,” Devana says. “We welcome everyone to see for themselves what makes our Island one of the top travel destinations on the planet.”

To better reflect its modern services and design, the airport has introduced a fresh new logo. It prominently features the airport’s code letters, YCD, while emphasizing “Nanaimo Airport.”

The logo mixes blue and green in a nod to the spectacular land and water views of Central Vancouver Island. And it adds a creative twist to its airplane icon, showing it taking off and soaring.

For more information visit and follow @FlyYCD for airport updates.

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.

Bold, expanded airport terminal welcomes passengers

By Airport Improvements

Bold, bright and beautiful.

That’s a fitting description for Nanaimo Airport’s Terminal Building expansion, which officially opened in late February. It’s also an apt description for the airport’s future.

The new $14.2-million wing was completed ahead of schedule and under budget.

Passengers now enjoy an additional 14,000 sq. ft. of modern, airy comfort. The glass walls allow in a flood of natural light while overlooking the runway and the trees and mountains beyond. New comfortable seating provides spacious leg room as well as charging stations for electronic devices. Seating capacity has increased to more than 300, from 140, in the new boarding lounge.

“It’s a great design. It’s bold and speaks to who we are,” says Dave Witty, chair of the Nanaimo Airport Commission’s building committee. “The whole idea was to create a place of comfort for people as they travel.”

The project was made possible with the support of the Building Fund Canada -Small Communities Fund. Infrastructure Canada and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure each invested $2.5 million. Nanaimo Airport Commission invested $9.2 million.

The striking architecture was a collaboration between Office of McFarlane Biggar and the Nanaimo office of Checkwitch Poiron Architects. Island-based Durwest Construction Management managed the project. The company oversaw many local firms and contractors since construction began in 2018

“We’re enhancing the travel experience for the hundreds of thousands of people who make us their airport of choice,” says airport President and CEO Mike Hooper. “At the same time, we’re bringing many other benefits to our communities. Nanaimo Airport is a major economic driver on Vancouver Island and this investment has had a huge impact in our region. We’re the catalyst for thousands of jobs that support Central Island families. And investing in the terminal building helps us attract even more routes to serve the air transportation needs of our region today and for the next generation.”

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 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.

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.

Expanded airport terminal taking shape, right on schedule

By Airport Improvements

The future at Nanaimo Airport is becoming clearer by the day, thanks to progress on a $15-million Air Terminal Building expansion.

Construction activity that began this spring is already transforming the site. With foundation work completed, structural steel will now be erected. By Christmas, airport users will be able to see the outlines of the expansion, which will enlarge the security area for faster baggage screening and double the number of seats in the departure lounge for comfort and convenience.

“We’re very happy to be on schedule,” says Nanaimo Airport CEO Mike Hooper. “This is one of the largest construction projects in the region and despite normal logistical challenges it is going quite smoothly.”

He credits months of planning and careful project management for minimizing the impact of the expansion on airport operations. “We’ve made customer service a priority,” Hooper says. “We’re doing everything we can to ensure the airport experience meets expectations, and we appreciate the support and patience we’ve received from our customers.”

Once the steel work is done, crews will focus on exterior work for the building: cladding, glass and roofing. Completion is anticipated by January 2020. The expanded terminal will have approximately 14,000 more sq. ft. It’s currently 23,680 sq. ft.

The federal and provincial governments each invested $2.48 million in the project from the New Building Canada Fund – Small Communities Fund Program. The B.C. Airport Assistance Program invested $150,000 and Nanaimo Airport Commission covers the remainder

“This is another example of how Nanaimo Airport helps drive the Central Island economy,” Hooper says. “We’re bringing millions of dollars into the region and creating jobs that support local families.”

Island-based project manager Durwest Construction Management oversees many local trades contractors and suppliers. Nanaimo’s Checkwitch Poiron Architects, for example, is on the design team. And local firms McCallan Construction Survey, Graf Excavating, Island Overhead Doors, Flynn Canada, Archie Johnstone Plumbing, Houle Electric, Holdfast Metalworks, and Vescon Construction have all been contracted.

By 2021 the airport is forecast to generate $358 million in annual economic impact for the region and support more than 2,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Airport shares ideas for its land with neighbours

By Airport Improvements, Community

Nanaimo Airport is interested in being a good neighbour and in the views of the people who live around its property.

That’s why the airport has for the last year shared information and consulted with neighbouring communities about developing its vacant land. Three public information sessions last month provided yet another opportunity for residents to be heard.

The information sessions were held in Nanaimo, Cedar and Ladysmith. They focused on options for unlocking the potential of the airport’s unoccupied land, which will enhance the central Vancouver Island economy with new jobs and investments.

“We were seeking input into some Draft designs,” says Mike Hooper, the airport’s CEO and president. “We received some excellent feedback, which we appreciate.”

The development scenarios were shaped earlier this year by a major two-day planning forum involving a cross-section of airport stakeholders. Attendees included representatives from local and regional governments, First Nations, the business community, the project architect, and the Nanaimo Airport Commission Board of Directors. They brainstormed possibilities that could benefit the region while meeting the commission’s guiding principles as well as its rigorous development standards.

Commission decisions are governed by the following principles:

  • Opportunities for interested parties to provide input shall be provided.
  • Protection of environmentally sensitive resources will be a key consideration in determining land use.
  • The objectives of the consultation process will be clearly established.
  • The process shall allow for a meaningful level of involvement.
  • All positions and input shall be considered; not all input can and will be accommodated.
  • The integrity of broad public involvement must be paramount and not be superseded by any individual or interest group.
  • Technical information used in decision making shall be made available to the public.
  • Airport operations will be paramount and all uses shall either be airport related or complimentary.
  • A timeline for the process will be clearly communicated.

The Nanaimo Airport continues to request input through its “Building for the Future” page at

New non-stop Toronto flight increases travel options

By Airport Improvements

Air Canada now offers non-stop flight from Nanaimo to Toronto.

Central Islanders have long wanted an easier way to travel to Toronto. And this month they’re getting it.

Thanks to a partnership with Nanaimo Airport, Air Canada Rouge launches a non-stop Nanaimo-to-Toronto flight on June 22. It will run four times a week. Flights leave Nanaimo at 12:15 p.m. on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Passengers will fly in a 136-seat Airbus A319. It will be the first scheduled jet service in Nanaimo Airport’s long history.

“Adding scheduled service like this reinforces our commitment to being the Central Island’s gateway to the world,” says airport CEO Mike Hooper.

The new flight gives residents easier access to Air Canada’s network of global flights from its Toronto hub. WestJet also offers connections through Nanaimo Airport. The two airlines can take Islanders to sun destinations like Hawaii and the Bahamas. Most national and international destinations can be reached with same-day travel.

The Toronto flight creates opportunities for business owners, investors and workers here. They can pursue new markets, customers and jobs. Easy connections to the Central Island also give the region’s tourism and education sectors an advantage.

“By creating new opportunities for convenient leisure and business travel, this service has significant potential for regional economic development,” says Hooper.

Nanaimo Airport’s ongoing investments in infrastructure helped pave the way for the arrival of large aircraft such as the Airbus A319. The airport broke ground in April on an expansion of the Terminal Building. This project is needed to handle record passenger volumes. It will also make the travelling experience even more comfortable.

The Toronto service continues throughout the prime summer travel season until October. Air Canada and WestJet also have scheduled additional summer flights on their routes to Vancouver and Calgary.


Nanaimo Airport Breaks Ground on Historic $15-Million Expansion

By Airport Improvements

Nanaimo, B.C. (April 17, 2018) — The first shovel of dirt was turned over today on a $15-million project that will expand Nanaimo Airport’s (YCD) Air Terminal Building, creating business and investment opportunities at one of the country’s fastest growing airports.

Ground was broken on an infrastructure investment project that is a partnership between Nanaimo Airport Commission and the federal and provincial governments. Each government contributed $2.48 million. The investment will substantially enlarge the size of the terminal building, creating more comfort for passengers and enhancing efficiency and safety. The project is one of the largest in the airport’s history.

“We are 10 years ahead of passenger forecasts and this investment will help us expand to ensure we continue to deliver great service to our customers,” says Lucie Gosselin, Board Chair of the Nanaimo Airport. “The Nanaimo Airport Commission appreciates the support provided by the Government of Canada and the Provincial Government for public infrastructure projects, through the New Building Canada Fund – Small Communities Fund Program.”

“I am pleased to see construction getting under way on this airport expansion project here in Nanaimo. These important upgrades will meet travellers’ needs now and into the future while laying the groundwork for increased tourism and economic growth in this beautiful region,” says the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.

“The Province of B.C.’s investment in the expansion of the Nanaimo Airport will help the facility meet current and future travel demand,” says Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena. “In helping fund this expansion, we are supporting the Nanaimo Airport Commission’s long-term vision for the airport, which is integral to the mid-Island economy.”

The investment in improvements to the Nanaimo Airport will help it keep pace with the growth of the mid-Island.

The expansion will add 14,000 square feet, increasing the terminal building’s size by nearly 60 per cent. More space in the security area will allow travellers and their baggage to move faster through the screening. Passengers will also enjoy the benefits of a much larger departure lounge, which will have about 320 seats – more than double the current number.

“As the Central Island’s gateway to the world, we know hundreds of thousands of people rely on us for safe, convenient and comfortable travel,” says Nanaimo Airport CEO and president Mike Hooper. “We have carefully planned this expansion to ensure we continue to provide exceptional customer experience during the construction period. By expanding we’ll be better able to meet the needs of our region today and for the next generations.”

Nanaimo Airport has set records for passenger volume for eight consecutive years. More than 390,000 people are expected to pass through its gates in 2018.

The infrastructure investment will inject millions of dollars into the regional economy, through job creation and the purchase of materials and services. Project manager Durwest Construction Management is an Island-based firm. The project team includes Nanaimo-based Checkwitch Poiron Architects.

The tender process for the project has finished and pre-construction work has begun on site. Expected completion date is 2020. Last year, the airport completed work on the runway apron and lighting to help prepare for the expansion.

“This project creates more opportunities for travellers, business owners and investors,” says Hooper. “It will help us as we continue to pursue more air service for central Vancouver Island. It provides more space, and potentially more customers, for new businesses to partner with us, and it will spur land and business development at the airport that attracts investors from around the world.”

In 2016 the Nanaimo Airport Commission Board of Directors approved a 20-year Master Development Plan for the air terminal building.

The expansion project fulfills three critical priorities for the Commission:

  • ·         Regional economic development
  • ·         Economic stimulus through infrastructure construction
  • ·         Meeting escalating demand for air service through the next decade

To be fiscally responsible, the commission will carry out other work in the terminal building development plan when passenger volumes demand and additional funding is available.