Airport Sponsorships Support Families, Community.

By | Community

What comes to mind when you think of Nanaimo Airport?

Travel is an obvious choice, since the airport is the Central Island’s gateway to the world. But something else is also a big part of its identity: family.

Nanaimo Airport is an important part of the large family of communities that make up this region. It serves the travel needs of the thousands of local families who live and work here. And it’s a big supporter of family-oriented activities that showcase the area’s community spirit.

Every year the Nanaimo Airport Commission partners with volunteer groups on projects that touch many aspects of Central Island life, from health care to youth. The common link in all the work? The benefit to residents and their families.

Here are some examples:

  • Ladysmith Festival of Lights
    In 2015 the airport commission started a five-year sponsorship with Vancouver Island’s premier winter festival for families. As a result, the festival’s showpiece — the Chuck Perrin Memorial Tree — now sparkles with brand new LED lights.
  • Nanaimo & District Foundation Ride for Life 
    The airport commission hosts the annual cycling event that raises money for health care in the region. Proceeds from this year’s May 2017 ride will help purchase a new CT scanner for Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. Cyclists of all age and abilities participate, many of them as families.
  • North Oyster & Area Historical Society
    The airport commission supports the society’s work on the area’s community centre. For example, the society volunteers run barbecues at airport events in return for a donation. The historic centre hosts a variety of functions vital to local families, including wedding receptions, birthday parties, social gatherings and meetings
  • 205 Collishaw Royal Canadian Air Cadets
    The airport commission hosts the squadron’s annual review as well as its ongoing glider training. The squadron, for youth aged 12 to 18, is popular with families as it fosters citizenship, leadership and physical fitness while promoting interest in the Canadian Forces air branch.

Eco-friendly airport protects environment

By | Community

Environmental stewardship plays a major role in the commission’s business decisions. That’s because protecting the environment is one of Nanaimo Airport Commission’s key corporate values.

Nanaimo Airport isn’t focused solely on the skies. The Central Island’s gateway to the world also devotes its attention to the land and water.

The eco-friendly culture drives a variety of programs protecting water supplies, conserving habitat and recycling materials. It also ensures compliance with government environmental regulations.

And airport staff embrace their mission, even volunteering their time to support it.

As an example, a team from Nanaimo Airport joins the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup , a national program to eliminate shoreline trash. This month the volunteers will again scour the upstream area of Haslam Creek, preventing garbage from entering the fragile aquatic ecosystem.

Airport activities are guided by a pro-active Environmental Management Plan. It monitors and corrects risks before they result in unsafe conditions, accidents or harm to the environment.

The plan covers the airport’s water and land resources, natural habitat, aeronautical noise, energy use, and waste management.

Some of its key directives include:

  • Protect water resources

To learn more about the Cassidy Aquifer, the airport takes samples from eight locations to get data on water flow and quality. The airport also has strict protocols for preventing onsite leaks and spills.

  • Enhance fish habitat

The airport partners with community organizations to enhance fish habitat in the lower reaches of Haslam Creek. Coho, pink and chum salmon live there as well as cutthroat and rainbow trout.

  • Manage bird habitat

The airport helps Canadian Wildlife Services and community groups to conserve the Coastal Vesper sparrow population.  The work balances the need to maintain a safe airfield with the needs of a species that can safely coexist with aviation.

  • Manage vegetation

An ongoing program protects the airport flight path and sets strict environmental guidelines. Its goals? Passenger safety, and the return of native species of vegetation.

Airport business partnerships huge boost for local economy

By | Community

We believe that partnerships with local businesses are the key to serving the hundreds of thousands of people who use Nanaimo Airport?

A variety of Central Vancouver Island firms partner with the Nanaimo Airport Commission to provide passengers with everything from fresh food to transportation. They also serve other businesses that depend on the airport for moving goods on and off of the Island.

And the work they do creates direct and indirect employment that helps support some 1,600 local families. In fact, airport operations generate an estimated $100 million in annual economic activity in the region. That makes Nanaimo Airport one of the Central Island’s main economic drivers.

Most of the businesses at the airport are devoted to passenger services. Some, like Air Canada Jazz, WestJet Encore and Island Express Air, are highly visible. Others work more behind the scenes. United Ramp Incorporated and Canwest, for example, provide ground services to the major airlines.

Other business partners include:

  • G4S, which handles passenger screening
  • Connections Café
  • National, Hertz and Budget car rental agencies
  • AC Taxi and Yellow Cab
  • The Airporter
  • Enex Fuels
  • Nav Canada, which operates the flight services station
  • Canadian Border Services

Numerous contractors for winter maintenance, landscaping, janitorial services and so on. Nanaimo Airport is also home to FedEx, Nanaimo Aircraft Maintenance, and Vital Aviation flight school. The Cottonwood Golf Course is also situated on airport land.

Nanaimo Airport Commission expects to welcome new business partners as part of its much-needed expansion to keep up with record growth in passenger traffic. The plan, and Aviation Gateway land development opportunities, fulfill three critical priorities:

  • regional economic development
  • economic stimulus through infrastructure construction
  • meeting escalating demand for air service through the next decade

Airport helps kids meet world-famous Snowbirds

By | Community

Thanks in part to Nanaimo Airport, some Central Island children living with serious illnesses will get to meet the pilots of the world-famous Canadian Forces Snowbirds .

The 431 Squadron aces serve as ambassadors to the non-profit CH.I.L.D. Foundation, which helps children living with inflammatory bowel diseases.

The pilots will be in Nanaimo on August 10 to perform a free aerial show over our city’s harbour and to raise awareness of the foundation’s work.

As part of the visit, Nanaimo Airport and the Nanaimo Flying Club will host a special private session for local children and their parents who are members of CH.I.L.D. Participants will meet the Snowbird pilots and take pictures with them.

“This is an opportunity for us to give local kids a once-in-a-lifetime memory,” says Nanaimo Airport CEO, Mike Hooper. “We’re proud to support the great work of the CH.I.L.D. Foundation. It makes a difference in the lives of Central Island families.”

The foundation’s mandate is to find a cure for Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis and liver disorders. These illnesses cause excruciating pain, vomiting and chronic fatigue, among other symptoms. Children living with the disorders are often confined to their homes, miss a lot of school, and can’t participate in many activities such as playing sports.

“I can’t wait to see the smiles when the kids and their families get to meet the pilots,” Mike says.

Smiles will also be the order of the day when the Snowbirds perform, beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 10 high above the city. Thousands of Central Island families are expected to pack downtown Nanaimo to watch the aerial stunts that have made the Snowbirds a Canadian icon.

The roars of their jet engines will be heard for miles around, so for the few days the Snowbirds are in the area Nanaimo Airport encourages residents to be prepared for the noise in the skies. On the ground, the cheers of the Snowbirds fans may be almost as loud!

Airport Celebrates passenger milestone

By | Community

Are you The One?

Nanaimo Airport has launched a “You’re One in 2 Million” campaign to celebrate the two millionth passenger to pass through its gates since 2006. The milestone will be reached this month.

The campaign offers a bevy of prizes, both for travellers and for other residents of the region.

“Really the ‘You’re One in 2 Million’ program is our way of saying Thank-you to the community for supporting the Nanaimo Airport,” says airport CEO and president Mike Hooper.

Anyone in the Central Island can win the grand prize of two tickets for a trip in North America with Air Canada. Contest entry details are at

A part of the “You’re One in 2 Million” campaign, the two millionth passenger will be designated randomly among fliers taking a flight in or out of Nanaimo Airport from the end of April to mid-May. The winner will take home several prizes, including parking for a year at YCD and everyone else on the flight will receive gifts.

Passengers flying out of the airport will also be eligible for a separate prize of return airfare for two to Calgary with Air Canada. The airline offers a daily Nanaimo-to-Calgary flight and will add a second flight to that route starting on June 20.

The airport reached the one-million passenger mark just 3.5 years ago. “To grow by one million travellers in such a short period of time shows that the people of Central Vancouver Island trust us to deliver convenience, affordability and safe air travel” says Hooper.

“We’re very proud to be the Central Island’s airport of choice.”

Two million passengers is roughly equal to every person in the City of Nanaimo making 24 trips.

The airport provides residents with more travel options, and creates significant economic benefits to the region — worth nearly $100 million last year, including more than 1,300 direct and indirect jobs.

Nanaimo Airport hosts aviation conference, boosting Central Island’s profile, economy

By | Community

Nanaimo Airport plays host to the B.C. Aviation Council’s Spring Airports Conference on April 25 through 27, at the Vancouver Island Convention Centre and becomes the focal point of B.C. aviation this month. It will generate a significant boost to the local economy at the same time.

The event, following a theme of Shaping Our Future, brings more than 100 senior airport, airline, aviation authority, government and related business executives here from all over the province.

They’ll share information, tackle industry concerns and discuss solutions, and exchange ideas for the development of B.C.’s airports.

“We are delighted to welcome the BCAC team and the aviation community to the region,” shares Mike Hooper, President and CEO of the Nanaimo Airport.

The conference is one of the industry’s premier networking and educational/professional development events. Bringing it to Nanaimo represents a real coup for the region as it raises the profile of Central Vancouver Island — not just in B.C., but across the country.

The conference also generates substantial spending with area businesses, supporting local jobs. Statistics suggest that delegates to conferences in Nanaimo spend roughly $350 every day they’re here (source: Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association).

That money goes to purchase accommodation, food and beverages, and tours of the area. Delegates spend money on a variety of other products and services, too, including rental cars and taxis, audio-visual services, and souvenirs.

Another benefit from hosting the conference will be the tourism opportunities it creates. Decision-makers from around B.C. will be here — many of them for the first time — and see first-hand the region’s potential and natural beauty.

By hosting the conference, Nanaimo Airport Commission again proves that the aviation sector supports area residents in their everyday lives, attracts investment, and enables our resource-, tourism- and knowledge-based industries to thrive.

Showing the love for a direct flight to Edmonton

By | Community

Our customers are showing the love and it’s a match made in (almost) heaven.

For the past month, Central Island residents have been demonstrating sky-high levels of passion for travel to Edmonton, in Nanaimo Airport’s “Show Your Love” campaign. Residents have been going online to share their strong connection and commitment to the Alberta city, in hopes of restarting direct flights between Nanaimo and Edmonton in the future.

An economic downturn led WestJet to the difficult decision to redeploy its fleet and suspend its services from several airports to Edmonton as of March 5.

Airport CEO Mike Hooper says “Show Your Love demonstrates to air carriers that they’ll have strong community support to re-launch the route once the Alberta economy picks up.”

And from the response to the campaign so far, they can also count on many passengers.

Residents most often cite family and work connections as the reason for their desire to have a direct flight again between the two cities.

“We still have a lot of family and friends there,” says one resident, who grew up in Edmonton and plans to make several trips back to his former hometown.

Another resident says her sister, brother and families live in Edmonton, and having a direct flight there “would make it easier to keep our family connected.”

Yet another resident wants to be able to see her grandchildren in Edmonton. “What greater way to connect than flying directly back and forth without having to go through (Vancouver)?”

There’s still time for Central Islanders to “Show Your Love,” to demonstrate that a Nanaimo-to-Edmonton should be one of the first routes to be considered for reinstatement. Just go to and:

  • Share a personal story about why travel to Edmonton is important to you
  • Copy the “Show Your Love” icon and use it on your social media while sharing your connection to Edmonton with your friends.

Nanaimo Airport helps strengthen Central Island Community

By | Community

At Nanaimo Airport, being a good neighbour includes a commitment to “give where you live.”

Every year the airport supports a variety of projects in the communities it serves, providing donations, sponsorships and in-kind contributions. Airport staff provide countless volunteer hours to help charitable campaigns reach their goals.

It’s all part of the airport’s mission to improve life for central Vancouver Island residents today and in the future.

And it’s all done in partnership with other non-profit organizations.

In 2015 alone, the airport helped with everything from a high-profile family-oriented festival to research into a serious medical issue afflicting many Canadians. Here’s a recap of some of the projects:

  • Ladysmith Light Up Festival – Nanaimo Airport Commission took the lead in the festival’s Adopt a Tree program. NAC sponsored the redesign of the Chuck Perrin Memorial Tree that serves as the focal point of Vancouver Island’s largest winter family event.
  • North Oyster & Area Historical Society – The airport makes donations to show its appreciation for the efforts of society members, who assist with the airport’s annual barbecue and other events through the year.
  • Ladysmith Kinsmen – The airport helped the service club secure funding from Air Canada for a new adventure playground at Transfer Beach. The airport worked with the Kinsmen on creating the concept, completing the paperwork for licensing, and securing the funding.
  • 205 Collishaw Nanaimo Squadron of Air Cadets – The airport, in conjunction with the Nanaimo Flying Club, hosted the squadron’s Annual Review, which is the most important event of the air cadet training year. Cadets displayed their skills for their families and assembled guests.
  • Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation – The airport hosts an annual fund-raising golf tournament for the foundation, and donates the proceeds from its coffee fund in the passenger lounge.
  • Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce – The airport provides ongoing marketing support for the organization to support its work in strengthening the community.

Sunny Sam Sees World Thanks to Your Airport

By | Community

Meet Sunny Sam.

Nanaimo Airport has many frequent fliers, thanks to the connections it offers to destinations around the world, but one in particular stands out.

Your airport’s unofficial mascot, and a favourite of children everywhere, has flown to China, Afghanistan, Nunavut, the Caribbean, Tanzania, Thailand, most of Europe and several other countries. He’s even been atop a mountain in Greenland.

Needless to say, he’s a savvy world traveller (not to mention he has accumulated a ridiculous number of airline points). And he frequently shares his insights and tips on his own Facebook page .

There you’ll find updates on what’s new, hot and happening with every carrier, airport and destination – as well as news about events in our community.

Sunny Sam is pretty easy to spot online, in the terminal, and sometimes on the Nanaimo Airport webcam too, thanks to his bold yellow skin and his trademark shoes that reveal his destination of the day: sandals for sunny climates, winter boots for the cooler areas, boots for wet locales, and running or dress shoes for the places at which he’ll always be on the go.

He’s also a bit of a celebrity, having been the star of a photo contest that saw pictures of him being snapped by Central Island residents who took him on adventure, shopping and dining excursions around the world.

Like them, Sunny Sam always starts his travels at Nanaimo Airport because he knows it’s the Central Island’s gateway to the world, with flights that are convenient, affordable and reliable.

Those benefits make Sunny Sam smile. “Life’s always sunny when you’re above the clouds,” he says.

And the hundreds of thousands of other passengers who frequent Nanaimo Airport couldn’t agree more.

Nanaimo Airport Commission: neighbours representing our community

By | Community

Local people making important decisions locally.

That’s the Nanaimo Airport Commission, in a nutshell. Its nine-member Board of Directors is comprised of your neighbours and friends, all representing the valued communities we serve.

“The Board and staff have worked tirelessly to ensure a memorable experience for the hundreds of thousands of people who place their travel plans in our hands,” says Board Chair John Craig, who was re-elected to the position at the commission’s Annual General Meeting last month.

“We spend each day earning their trust, enhancing our services to ensure reliability, comfort, convenience and safety.”

It’s important work, and requires not just broad experience but also a commitment to central Vancouver Island. That’s why all the members of the airport commission — just like the people we serve — live and work here. Their superb corporate stewardship includes careful financial management, environmental and safety leadership, and vision for the future.

Who are these dedicated people representing your interests?

Well, John Craig (appointed by the Cowichan Valley Regional District) again heads the board, and is joined by Al Tully (Regional District of Nanaimo), Mike Kandert (City of Nanaimo), and community directors-at-large Lucie Gosselin, Dixon Kennedy, Wendy Clifford and Ray Gauthier.

Two new faces have joined the board. Town of Ladysmith appointee Alex Stuart brings a wealth of talents, including a background in technology, environmental management and local government. And new Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce appointee David Witty, a vice-president at Vancouver Island University, has a strong background in urban planning. He’s been part of design work for four B.C. airports, including Vancouver’s.

They succeed the retiring Russ Burke and Joe Burnett, who made invaluable contributions to the board over the last several years.

Together the commission members carry out the mandate of making the central Island a better place for future generations. Their decisions — made locally — are a big reason Nanaimo Airport is your airport of choice.