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Economic Impact

Airport helps e-commerce boom, eyes cargo expansion

By Economic Impact, Uncategorized

Nanaimo Airport plays an important role in the explosion of ecommerce. It’s a role that ties into the airport’s plan for growth.

Many online orders made by Central Vancouver Island residents and businesses ship through Nanaimo Airport. Air transport is what makes fast delivery to your doorstep possible. It also creates opportunities.

FedEx Canada, one of the airport’s business partners, saw business jump some 45% over last year. E-commerce drove the surge. The company had to reconfigure its space to handle the deluge of residential parcels. FedEx also added another cargo flight here. And it boosted its trucking system to meet demand.

All the work required additional people to handle it. More employees and casual drivers were hired. The airport worked with the company to quadruple the size of its employee parking on site.

Land available for warehousing

Nanaimo Airport Commission plans to capitalize on the boom in commercial shipping. It will expand into air cargo warehousing and distribution services. The move will diversify airport revenues. Current revenue is primarily based on passenger travel. Generating more income from freight will help secure the airport’s stable financial future.

The space needed for warehousing and distribution is already earmarked. The airport’s land development plan makes about 35 acres in the northwest section available. It’s being marketed to developers and investors.

Transportation hub for region

Brining new investment and business to the area is part of the airport’s growth strategy. It plans careful management of its vacant land to create regional benefit.

The City of Nanaimo’s economic development strategy identifies airport development as key. The plan includes the goal of creating a transportation, cargo and logistics hub.

Nanaimo Airport also continues to cooperate with the Regional District of Nanaimo. The RDN is updating its regional growth strategy, Official Community Plan and zoning for a commercial/industrial area. And though the airport operates under federal jurisdiction, it champions our local communities. Nanaimo Airport Commission works with municipal, regional and First Nations governments.


Airport planning for $29M investment to help drive economic recovery

By Economic Impact

Nanaimo Airport Commission is taking a leadership position to help fuel the Central Island’s economic recovery with a $28.8-million infrastructure capital plan.

The investment over the next five years will enhance Nanaimo Airport’s infrastructure. It will provide additional route development options including Toronto, Edmonton, Kelowna and seasonal sun destinations.

“We’re pro-actively embracing our leadership role as a key economic driver for the region,” says Dave Devana, President and CEO. “Our investments will create jobs and opportunities with economic spin-offs that touch all corners of the region we serve. Our new infrastructure capital plan will help Nanaimo Airport and our region recover from the impact of the pandemic while ensuring the airport continues to meet the needs of leisure and business travellers for the next generation.

“We can safely reconnect travellers to the world when they’re ready to fly again. We’re looking to create even more options for our customers.”

Nanaimo Airport Commission adopted its 2021-2025 Financial Plan in November. The budget is based on a slow pandemic recovery with passenger traffic returning to 2019 levels by 2024.

“It’s important to note that no government taxes are used to finance our ongoing operations,” Devana adds. Nanaimo Airport Commission is a non-profit, self sufficient corporation. It generates revenue through passenger fees, parking fees and leases. All net income is reinvested in infrastructure improvements to enhance the airport. Government grants have helped fund capital projects, such as the new Airport Terminal Building, that enhance economic development opportunities in Central Vancouver Island.

The pandemic presented the airport with the most difficult financial challenges in its history. An estimated 181,072 passengers travelled through its gates in 2020. That’s down an estimated 63% from 2019. As a result, the airport forecasts a $1.4 million loss in 2020. It had anticipated a $2.5 million surplus in 2020.

“Our region depends on us for the transportation of people and critical supplies,” Devana notes. “Our Board of the Commission did a tremendous job of navigating extremely difficult circumstances to ensure we’ve been there for our communities.”

Nanaimo Airport building on foundation for tomorrow

By Economic Impact

Nanaimo Airport’s (YCD) expanded Air Terminal Building is the latest piece of the airport’s foundation for tomorrow.

The terminal is one of the pillars of Nanaimo Airport Commission’s five-year Strategic Plan, which charts the flight path for the next generation of air service in Central Vancouver Island. The plan guides decision-making at one of B.C.’s fastest growing regional airports. It, in essence, builds YCD’s future.

Infrastructure such as the terminal building plays a major role in the vision for today and tomorrow. Construction of the $14.2-million terminal expansion provides immediate benefits, giving passengers more room and comfort while helping them to move through the airport more efficiently.

The new building also ushers in the future, thanks to the Commission’s 20-year plan for terminal expansion. The plan uses an innovative modular design. Each stage is designed to connect seamlessly to the one before and after it.

In the years ahead, infrastructure improvements create potential for a sizeable return on investment. The enlarged terminal building, coupled with enhancements to runway aprons, makes Nanaimo Airport even more attractive to airlines. And that could lead to new routes based here. There’s plenty of room and other amenities necessary to accommodate the large jets that fly to sun destinations such as Hawaii and Mexico.

Investment has also created additional airport parking to meet demand. Passengers now have 1,200 stalls to choose from.

Another pillar that supports the airport’s operations today and in the future is a Climate Change Action Plan. Work began last year to assess and plan for the impact of climate change, to ensure the airport’s sustainability for generations.

Sustainability is also the driving factor in the airport’s land use planning – another piece of the foundation for tomorrow. Land development on vacant areas will provide economic benefit to the community while diversifying the airport’s revenue stream.

As all the foundation pieces are put in place, safety remains the airport’s priority. One of the latest initiatives was the purchase of a second Air Rescue and Fire Fighting vehicle, increasing the capacity for emergency response.

For information on Nanaimo Airport’s COVID-19 response visit

Airport initiating a climate change action plan

By Economic Impact, Uncategorized

Nanaimo Airport is taking a leadership role in addressing climate change.

As part of its commitment to environmental stewardship, the airport has begun work on a climate change action plan. It’s one of only a few B.C. airports to take the step. A select number of the country’s much larger airports including Vancouver and Toronto, have their own plans.

Nanaimo Airport Commission has initiated a plan because it is the right thing to do as a good corporate citizen. It’s also necessary to ensure sustainable operations. Climate change has the potential to impact everything from air traffic control to the terminal, cargo, fire service and even road access. Possible hazards include flooding, heat damage to infrastructure and buildings, increased risk of fire and wind damage and  impacts on airport users and suppliers.

The commission has a working group and engaged a consultant with specific expertise to steer the plan’s development.

Getting the initial data is a big job requiring an extensive inventory that tracks emissions. The inventory could include everything from the source of emissions, such as vehicles and equipment, to the quantity emitted. Other sources to be considered could include buildings and facilities, energy generation, and waste management.

Once the data is available, the working group would create a strategy to find ways to reduce the emissions. The use of technology and efficiency improvements, in collaboration with airport partners, is among the options.

The plan could also include a resilience response to deal with a host of factors that could arise while addressing climate change at the airport. These factors include regulatory changes, financial and insurance issues, physical design changes, and specific airport plans and policies.

Nanaimo Airport Commission is following a coordinated strategy to develop the plan. It starts with deciding the scope of the project and continues with an organizational plan for an action team, including resources and a work plan.


Nanaimo Airport now Island’s second busiest airport

By Economic Impact, Uncategorized

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Airport a magnet for new trade zone jobs, businesses

By Community, Economic Impact

Nanaimo Airport plays a key role in the new employment, business and investment opportunities created by Vancouver Island’s designation as a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ).

The zone makes it easier for local businesses to expand international trade. It also makes it easier for the region to attract foreign investment. As a premier transportation and logistics hub, the airport will be one of the zone’s major assets.

The designation was announced by federal government. It streamlines processes for companies in the region that want to import or export products and conduct trade with foreign markets. And it gives them easier access to government programs that defer taxes and duty.

“We’re in a great position to help them capitalize,” says Nanaimo Airport CEO Mike Hooper. “Our land and infrastructure is ready to go.”

The airport has about 51 acres of vacant land with excellent development potential. The different sizes of lots could accommodate aviation-related goods and services. As well, small warehouses and importers and exporters could locate there to gain the most benefit from the zone.

“A business importing products could land them on our runway, then sell them here and enjoy a tax break. And that’s just one scenario,” says Hooper.

The FTZ is only the 11th of its kind in Canada. It’s overseen by the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance. VIEA worked with Nanaimo Airport and other partners to secure the designation.

“Nanaimo Airport plays an important role in driving the regional economy,” Hooper says. “Being in a Foreign Trade Zone will enhance that role, and deliver even more benefit to the communities we serve.”

The airport’s economic impact touches all corners of the region. Nanaimo Airport currently generates $358 million and more than 2,000 jobs that support Central Island families. And that’s before factoring in the economic injection resulting from being in an FTZ.