Airport Improvements

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.

New WestJet flight brings sun destinations closer

By | Airport Improvements

Tired of the rain? A new WestJet flight at Nanaimo Airport makes it even easier to head for sun destinations like Hawaii and Mexico.

WestJet starts a new daily Nanaimo-Vancouver flight on Thursday, December 14. It means reduced travel time to warmer climates.

Travellers can easily connect to any of WestJet’s 505 weekly flights this winter out of Vancouver. Residents from Central Vancouver Island can visit most parts of the world within hours of leaving their homes. And flying out of Nanaimo to start a trip is easier and faster than fighting ferry traffic to get to the airport in Vancouver.

“The community has been asking for this service for several years, so we are thrilled,” says Nanaimo Airport Commission Chair Lucie Gosselin.

WestJet’s’s 78-seat Bombardier Q400 plane will arrive daily at Nanaimo Airport at 12:38 p.m. It leaves for Vancouver at 1:10 p.m.

The new route is in addition to WestJet’s two daily flights to Calgary. Air Canada flies daily to Calgary and offers nine daily Air Canada Express flights from Nanaimo to Vancouver.

The new service benefits the people who live and work in our area. It makes travel even more convenient. And it creates even more opportunities for business owners, investors and workers.

New direct connections from Vancouver mean new markets, customers and jobs can be pursued from a base in the Central Island.

“Developing service is key to Nanaimo Airport’s continued growth to ensure safe, reliable transportation for Central Vancouver Island residents,” says Mike Hooper, President and CEO of Nanaimo Airport. “This announcement is a major indicator of how strongly the Mid-Island region is supporting WestJet Encore service.”

Passenger volumes at Nanaimo Airport have more than doubled since 2006.

The Central Island’s airport of choice is planning a multi-million-dollar expansion of its air terminal building.





New lighting helps prepare for start of expansion

By | Airport Improvements

Fall is traditionally seen as a time of change – and that’s certainly the case at Nanaimo Airport.

The Central Island’s airport of choice will soon install new lighting on its apron, where planes park. The work is needed before ground can be broken early next year on a multi-million-dollar expansion project.

New floodlights will go up in the coming weeks. The upgrade helps clear the way for expansion of the Air Terminal Building. The extra square footage will shift the building’s footprint towards the apron.

A bigger terminal for passengers is needed due to record passenger numbers. The airport forecasts 365,000 people will go through its gates this year- the equivalent of every person in the Regional District of Nanaimo taking more than two flights.

The passenger numbers also puts the airport 10 years ahead of projections.

The 20-year terminal building expansion kicks off with phase one that is funded in part by a $7.46 million Building Canada Fund investment.

Phase 1 includes:

  • an expanded passenger departure lounge
  • more room for baggage to be processed
  • a larger security area so checked bags can be screened separately from passengers

Nanaimo Airport Commission is currently working with an architect team to confirm the building plans. After a contractor is chosen, construction crews are expected to be on site early next year.

Careful planning by the commission will ensure passenger safety and comfort is maintained throughout the project.

Expanding the terminal building fulfills three of the commission’s critical priorities:

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

Nanaimo Airport welcomes feedback on its infrastructure expansion at

Airport projects focus on safety and service

By | Airport Improvements

Growing to serve you better.

That’s the mantra at Nanaimo Airport with three significant infrastructure projects under way. They’re designed to meet the needs of the travellers and businesses that depend on the Central Island’s airport of choice.

The work includes expansion of the air terminal building and the runway apron, and construction of a new fire hall.

“These projects help us fulfill three critical priorities: regional economic development; economic stimulus through infrastructure construction; and meeting escalating demand for air service through the next decade,” says Mike Hooper, the airport President and CEO.

The projects also will help ease congestion and enhance safety and customer service. You can follow them on Twitter at @FlyYCD.

  • Air Terminal Building

Passenger volume that has more than doubled in the last five years makes expansion vital. With Infrastructure Canada investment, Nanaimo Airport has focused initially on enlarging the departure lounge. Work will go to tender this fall. Ground breaking and construction begins in early 2018.

The lounge expansion is the first step in a 20-year development plan for the terminal.  Work will be done in phases, as traffic increases and funding becomes available. Forecasts call for 450,000 annual passengers by 2020.

  • Runway apron

Thanks to investment from the BC Air Access Program, Nanaimo Airport’s northern runway apron is expanding. The work is critical to the goal of reducing congestion and improving safety while attracting more airline partners.

“Several times a day all three aircraft parking positions are being used simultaneously,” Hooper explains. “For us to continue to grow air services, we need to expand the apron to allow four aircraft to be at the terminal.”

The additional space is also needed for large private aircraft.

  • Fire hall

Safety is Nanaimo Airport’s top priority. That’s why a new fire hall — built with investment from Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program — will soon open. With the building exterior nearly complete, the airport firetruck will move in by mid-summer.

Airport land creates new opportunities for growth

By | Airport Improvements

New land use plan creates new employment opportunities. Bringing new businesses here, and helping existing ones expand. Diversifying the regional economy. Those are just some of the benefits of land development at the Nanaimo Airport.

In 2015, the Nanaimo Airport Commission (NAC) adopted a Land Use Plan which established a long-term vision for the 50 hectares of developable land. The first phase of that plan identified six lots along the taxiway as part of the YCD Aviation Gateway project in partnership with Executive Flight Centre Developments. This new focus on development has paid off.

Whitehorse based Alkan Air signed a long-term lease in late 2016 for one of the available air-side lots. The company recently finished building its new hangar there, with room for three aircraft configured full time for medical air transportation.

Alkan crews are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for flights throughout the Yukon, Northern B.C. and to major centres in Southern Canada. Crews also assist in remote medical evacuation.

Federal Express also seized the opportunity to operate from YCD. Shortly after expanding services to Nanaimo, they needed more space to help its existing business keep up with growing customer demand. In 2015 they moved into a larger hangar onsite which serves as the hub for the courier’s local cargo and shipping operations.

The two businesses are a perfect fit for Nanaimo Airport Commission’s development plan. They’re both in the aviation sector. They both complement the airport’s existing business partners. And they’re both providing benefit to the region and its economy.

Investors and tenants for the remaining available land will be carefully chosen to ensure they meet similar criteria.

Development will take place in phases and under strict guidelines. The first phase offers significant areas of developable land fronting both the main airport roadway and the primary taxiway.

Land development and other commercial activities helps support the airport’s long-term growth and financial sustainability. They also help boost the regional economy.

Airport Expansion Benefits Passengers

By | Airport Improvements

Here we grow again!

Nanaimo Airport will soon start expanding its Air Terminal Building, thanks to a $7.46 million infrastructure investment announced by the federal government.

Passengers will benefit from an expanded departure lounge and security area in the first phase of the project. As a result, people will be able to move through the baggage and security checks more efficiently. They’ll also have more room as they prepare to board flights.

The increase in services made possible by the funding will help Nanaimo Airport deliver even more comfort and convenience for the hundreds of thousands of people who travel through its gates each year.

The federal and provincial governments and Nanaimo Airport Commission will each cover one-third of the investment. That works out to contributions of $2.48 million each. The commission’s share comes from revenue generated by airport operations.

“This funding announcement allows us to begin to fulfill three critical priorities: regional economic development; economic stimulus through infrastructure construction; and meeting escalating demand for air service through the next decade,” says Michael Hooper, president and CEO of the Nanaimo Airport.

Passenger volume has grown a record-setting 108 percent in the last six years.

“We are 10 years ahead of passenger forecasts and this investment will help us expand to ensure we continue to deliver a great service to the customers at YCD,” says Lucie Gosselin, Nanaimo Airport Commission Board Chair.

The expansion is part of the airport’s 20-year master development plan for the terminal building. Designed to be implemented in phases to ensure fiscal responsibility, the plan was developed through the long-term vision of the community representatives on the Board of Directors.

Each phase of the project will be completed when passenger volumes increase and resources allow.

“The Nanaimo Airport Commission appreciates the support provided by the Government of Canada and the Provincial Government for public infrastructure projects, through the Infrastructure Canada and the Small Community Fund,” says Gosselin.


Airport expansion, additions boost services for travellers

By | Airport Improvements

Nanaimo Airport’s expansion project is taking customer service to new heights just in time for the busy winter season with a bigger lounge, more parking, and healthier food.

The Central island’s airport of choice has made several service enhancements, and has more planned.

Passengers are already enjoying these top 3 benefits:

1. More seats in the departure lounge for peak travel periods

This reduces congestion in the boarding area, and provides more comfort for travellers.

2. 100 additional parking stalls

Rental cars were removed from the main lot to open up more paved spots for travellers, and the gravel lots were also expanded. Additional lighting and parking kiosks were added to the north lot.

3. New — and healthier — food choices

A cold fresh food vending machine in the departure lounge provides a wide range of meal options, made daily at the on-site café. These include sandwiches, breakfast items, and healthy options like yogurt, fruit and salads. Premium coffee is also available for all flights.

The improvements are all part of the airport’s continued commitment to customer service. And they’re just the start of some major changes that will provide passengers with even more convenience and comfort in the months ahead, as Nanaimo Airport embarks on its latest expansion project.

First up: enlarging the passenger lounge. The work will remove a wall, add seats and create a standing area for people who want to stretch their legs before getting on a plane.

Later this year, a terminal building expansion will add to the passenger lounge, the baggage and security screening areas. And the car rental counters will move to increase space and comfort for passengers.

In keeping with its philosophy of consulting the community, the airport is encouraging public feedback on the expansion project. Residents can easily submit their views at

Aviation Gateway unlocks potential of airport’s land

By | Airport Improvements

We want to become a local aviation gateway, so developing the commercial potential of Nanaimo Airport will provide economic benefits to Central Island Vancouver Islanders for decades to come.

And to fulfill that potential, the airport has partnered with an industry expert in aviation-related development to help attract business investment.

EFC Developments, which has led many projects in Western Canada that have been welcomed by communities and spurred economic growth, is working with the airport to promote a multi-phase YCD Aviation Gateway.

The project supports Nanaimo Airport’s initiative to increase passenger handling capacity and operational efficiencies.

Airport operations already inject an estimated $100 million annually into the local economy. Bringing new commercial ventures to the site will create jobs directly and indirectly, while boosting regional spending on goods and services and generating significant local tax revenues.

The ongoing spin-off benefits will be felt throughout the region today and for future generations.

Importantly, the airport is committed to ensuring all development meet strict guidelines for sustainability, environmental impact, and community benefit.

As an example of how it will manage development responsibly, EFC Developments has carefully shaped architectural design guidelines for any new facilities and landscapes. The guidelines will ensure the airport maintains a cohesive community of consistent high quality aviation related businesses.

The first phase of YCD Aviation Gateway focuses on developable land fronting both the main airport roadway and the primary taxiway.

The land is ideally suited for any of five prime commercial development sectors tied to existing activities at the airport:

  • Hangars for private and corporate users
  • Fixed Based Operators, who provide a variety of aviation services
  • Aircraft sales
  • Aerospace businesses
  • Maintenance, repair and overhaul services, which could include aircraft conversions to extend their lifetimes

The project’s later phases would cover other areas in the airport’s extensive inventory of land.

For more information on Nanaimo Airport’s economic contribution to the region, see the 2015 annual report.

New service to Edmonton opens up the world

By | Airport Improvements

Imagine waking up in London, Hawaii, Mexico or Florida just hours after leaving Nanaimo.

You’re not dreaming. Thanks to connecting flights leaving your airport daily, Central Islanders can conveniently leave home in the afternoon and wake up in destinations around Canada, the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe the next day.

Affordable travel possibilities become even more plentiful beginning on Tuesday, Dec. 15. That’s when WestJet begins new non-stop daily service from Nanaimo Airport to Edmonton. It’ll connect you to the airline’s network of 60 non-stop flights from there to destinations around the world.

“The community has been asking for this service for several years”, says Mike Hooper, President and CEO of the Nanaimo Airport. “And we’re thrilled to deliver it through a joint effort with WestJet and the Edmonton International Airport.”

WestJet’s Bombardier Q400 aircraft will arrive from Edmonton daily at 1:51 p.m. when the new service begins. It will depart at 2:25 p.m.

Edmonton is a key gateway for Central Islanders who commute by air to jobs in northern Alberta and northern Canada. It’s also a great destination for shopping, recreation and access to the Northern Rockies.

Developing service is key to Nanaimo Airport’s continued growth to ensure safe, reliable transportation for our communities.

The new flights join an already impressive list of options that continues to expand thanks to our partnerships with WestJet and Air Canada. The list includes WestJet’s two non-stop daily flights to Calgary, Air Canada’s non-stop daily flight to Calgary, and eight daily Air Canada Express flights in summer to Vancouver.

It’s not surprising, then, that passenger traffic at your airport has increased 13.9 per cent In the first six months of 2015.

As Central Islanders, we’ve always been able to work and play in one of the world’s greatest locations: Vancouver Island. And this new service will make it even easier for us all to work and play around the world too.