Airport Improvements

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.

Airport land development helps economy grow

By | Airport Improvements

Developing vacant land at Nanaimo Airport could be worth millions to the central Vancouver Island economy in new jobs and spending. It’s also essential to regional growth.
Airport operations already generate an estimated $230-million annually in economic impact for the region (direct & indirect), making it a key economic driver for central Vancouver Island. An economic impact assessment completed last year tied regional growth prospects to the airport’s ability to expand.
The regional economy will be constrained, the report said, if the airport doesn’t continue to meet demand for air services. To keep up, the airport needs more development and infrastructure.
Nanaimo Airport Commission’s 20-year plan addresses those needs. And one of its first steps is to unlock the potential of its developable land.
Some of that potential has already been realized. Yukon-based Alkan Air last year opened a hangar after leasing a newly-available lot. The company’s arrival created five full-time jobs.
The commission is working with industry experts to market 50 hectares of land. Development will be managed in phases. Aviation-related firms are the initial focus. The land is ideal for companies looking to expand operations and capitalize on the record growth at Nanaimo Airport which is 10 years ahead of its passenger volume projections.
Several other factors have also raised interest among the aviation and aerospace sectors. The first phase of available land fronts both the main airport roadway and the primary taxiway. And Nanaimo Airport is a well-serviced, mid-sized airport that can offer long-term leases and very competitive development costs.
The commission has set out careful criteria for development. New tenants, for example, must complement the airport’s existing business partners and provide benefit to the regional economy.
While being good for the region, land development is also essential to support the airport’s long-term growth and financial sustainability. Also essential: infrastructure upgrades. Work has begun on a much-needed $14-million expansion of the Air Terminal Building that creates more space and convenience for passengers.

Airport expansion will soon break ground

By | Airport Improvements

Spring isn’t the only thing in the air at Nanaimo Airport.

Anticipation and excitement also abound as the airport breaks ground on its multi-million-dollar expansion in the coming weeks. Tenders are being reviewed for the project’s first phase, which will enlarge the air terminal building. Work can start once the construction company has been chosen.

The expansion will create more comfort and efficiency for passengers. A 14,000-square-foot addition will increase the terminal building’s size by nearly 60 per cent. The extra room will create more space in the security area, so travellers and their baggage can move faster through the screening. (The airport provides space for security but has no involvement with security procedures or equipment; by law, that’s the responsibility of the federal Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.)

Passengers will also enjoy the benefits of a much larger departure lounge. The area was temporarily expanded last year to prepare for the expansion project. Now it will grow again, more than doubling the number of seats available to waiting passengers to about 320 from the current 140.

In addition to having more room to relax and stretch their legs before catching a flight, passengers will be able to shop at a food outlet when the work is done. They’ll continue to have access to vending machines and a kiosk in the meantime. The airport’s Blue Navigators volunteers will be available to assist travellers.

The work is part of a 20-year airport expansion plan to help ensure the Airport continues to meet the needs of the communities it serves, today and for future generations.

The $14 million infrastructure investment is shared by the federal and provincial governments under the Building Canada Fund, and the Nanaimo Airport Commission. The B.C. Airport Assistance Program is also contributing.

Record-setting passenger numbers continue to reflect Nanaimo Airports’ position as the Central Island’s airport of choice. Last year 358,000 people passed through the gates.

Your comments on the expansion project are welcome, and easy to provide through our online submission form.



Air Canada Adds Direct Toronto Flight From Nanaimo

By | Airport Improvements


Air Canada adds direct Toronto flight from Nanaimo
creates new opportunities for travellers, economy

Nanaimo, British Columbia (December 1, 2017) — A new direct flight to Toronto from Nanaimo Airport, announced this morning, creates even more convenient options for Central Islanders
to travel the world.

Air Canada will begin flying from the airport to Toronto effective June 22, 2018. Four Air Canada Rouge flights are scheduled per week until Oct. 8, 2018.

“We are very excited about this announcement,” says Mike Hooper, President and CEO of the Nanaimo Airport. “Adding scheduled service like this reinforces our commitment to being the
Central Island’s gateway to the world.”

The new flight gives people who live and work in the region easier access to Air Canada’s vast network of global flights from its Toronto hub. From there the many choices include sun
destinations like Florida and the Bahamas, as well as major European cities.

“This is a very significant new route with a large body aircraft,” says Nanaimo Airport Commission Chair Lucie Gosselin. “We are happy to see Air Canada’s recognition of the growth
potential for the central island region and the Nanaimo Airport.” Air Canada Rouge will operate the flight Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays using a 136-seat Airbus A319 plane. It will arrive at 11:28 a.m. and depart at 12:15 p.m.

The airline already operates daily flights from Nanaimo to Vancouver and Calgary.

“We are very pleased to announce new, non-stop flights from Nanaimo directly to Toronto to help make summer travel to and from Vancouver Island even more convenient. With more than 755 seats and up to 11 daily flights next summer, Air Canada will be flying non-stop from Nanaimo Airport to three of our Canadian hubs – Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, offering the most options and unparalleled choices for vacation travellers to get to Nanaimo and the surrounding municipalities. Additionally, customers from this area will have direct access to even more far-reaching destinations in our global network at our primary Toronto hub,” stated Benjamin Smith, President-Passenger Airlines at Air Canada.

“Schedules that provide choice is the key to Nanaimo Airport’s continued growth and to ensure safe, reliable transportation for Central Vancouver Island residents,” says Hooper. “The additional service to Toronto is a major indicator of how strongly the communities in our region are supporting the Central Island’s airport of choice.”

Hooper says the new flight is a good fit for the airport’s role as a key driver of the regional economy. “By creating new opportunities for convenient leisure and business travel, this service has significant potential for Central Island economic development.”

Business owners, investors and workers will benefit. A direct connection to Toronto means new markets, customers and jobs can be pursued from a base in the Central Island. It also means advantages for the region’s tourism industry and for the educational sector, which seek to attract students from overseas.

Hooper says Nanaimo Airport Commission’s vision and planning are driven by the needs of the people who rely on the airport for affordable and efficient connections to the world. The commission’s investment in infrastructure, including lengthening the runway in 2011, helped paved the way for the arrival of large aircraft such as the Airbus A319. And the airport earlier this year announced an expansion plan for its Air Terminal Building, to accommodate record passenger volumes and make the travelling experience even more comfortable. The expansion begins in 2018.

Since 2006, passenger traffic has more than doubled. This year more than 355,000 passengers will fly in and out of Nanaimo Airport. In addition, cargo shipments through the airport are booming.

About Nanaimo Airport (YCD):
Nanaimo Airport is a ten-minute drive south of downtown Nanaimo on 224 hectares (550 acres), which includes the nearby Cottonwood Golf Course. YCD is a not-for-profit authority owned by the Nanaimo Airport Commission. Vancouver Island’s third largest airport, Nanaimo Airport serves a primary central Vancouver Island area with a total population base of approximately 250,000. The YCD service area extends north from Nanaimo to Qualicum, west to the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, and south to Duncan and the Cowichan Valley. YCD is ideally situated as the most convenient departure/arrival point for customers from the mid-Island area.

Media Contact:
Nanaimo Airport
Mike Hooper
President and CEO
250 245 4191
cell: 250 716 6625

Airport reliability takes worry out of travel plans

By | Advisory, Airport Improvements, Business Travel, Home Page Announcements

Airport reliability takes worry out of travel plans

Nanaimo Airport Reliability Graph

There aren’t many certainties in life but here’s one you can pretty much count on: a flight out of Nanaimo Airport.

The airport posted a 99.6% weather reliability rating last year – nearly all planned flights took off or landed despite some severe weather conditions. That impressive performance was achieved with more than 550 scheduled flights using the airport each month.

The sterling weather reliability rating allows central Island travellers to rely on the airport as their year-round gateway to the world. Of course, Mother Nature sometimes has other plans. Extreme weather can impact flights at any airport, and seaplanes too. Other travel modes for Islanders are similarly at the mercy of weather. Last month, for example, BC Ferries cancelled several sailings due to high winds. Flights continued as scheduled during those times at Nanaimo Airport.

So what accounts for the airport’s near-perfect reliability rating?

Much of the credit goes to an Instrument Landing System (ILS) installed in 2010. The high-tech navigation aid helps pilots land and take off safely even with limited visibility. Before ILS was implemented, as many as 90 flights a year were cancelled due to weather.

Other infrastructure improvements made by the Nanaimo Airport Commission have also boosted flight reliability by extending the runway and additional lighting. (Approach lights are the most important for pilots when landing.)

Since airlines — not the airport — decide when to cancel flights, it’s always best to check with your air carrier for up-to-date information. Also visit for a  live flight status updates for arrivals and departures.