Nanaimo Airport: What’s Involved in Winter Operations Preparations?

By Uncategorized

Vancouver Island is lucky enough to experience less snow than the rest of the country, but to ensure the safety and reliability of flights, the YCD team still prepares early each year for any chance of a harsher than expected winter. These preparations include a variety of training programs and an entire fleet of snow removal and management vehicles. Here are a few details on what YCD’s winter preparation looks like:


 Snow and Ice Removal:

Snow removal techniques at Nanaimo Airport include a combination of the use of plow trucks, pickup trucks, runway sweepers, front end loaders, snowblowers and skid-steer loaders. We also have plenty of shovels, brooms, and urea spreaders to maintain a high level of safety both groundside and airside.  To keep surfaces ice-free, potassium acetate, sodium formate, urea or other de-icing materials are used. Different chemicals are used based on the severity of each situation and the area they are being used. Chemicals that are spread on the aircraft movement areas are later swept away ensuring the safety of the aircraft.  It is also imperative that Nanaimo Airport’s instrument landing system be kept clear of snow and ice. To ensure the highest level of safety is being maintained, regular inspections of the runways and all pathways are also conducted.

One of Nanaimo Airport’s Snowplows, pictured here towing a sweeper.


Aircraft Operations: 

Both WestJet and Air Canada teams also have winter de-icing processes in place. De-icing is removing snow and ice and preventing the future build upon the aircraft’s wings and tail. De-icing fluid, typically a mixture of glycol and water, is sprayed under pressure to remove the snow and ice.

Crews hard at work, deicing for an early morning flight.


Terminal Operations: 

Staff at Nanaimo Airport are trained to be diligent with ensuring the operations inside the terminal also remain safe for passengers. During the winter months, this includes increased cleaning of wet floors,  plowing and shovelling of parking and pedestrian paths, as well as regular updates on our social media pages to let passengers know of any road conditions that may cause delays. To see these alerts or any other updates, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


Want to read more about YCD? Check out the safety measures we have underway to help keep you safe. Click here.

Safety programs provide peace of mind for air travel

By Advisory, Uncategorized

If you’re unsure about air travel this winter, enhanced safety protocols can give you some peace of mind.

Nanaimo Airport (YCD) and its airline partners Air Canada and WestJet have taken comprehensive steps to reduce the coronavirus risk. And new trial programs being conducted in Vancouver and Calgary airports may lead to replacing the 14-day quarantine requirement for domestic and international flights. In Vancouver, for example, passengers could get virus test results in as little as 15 minutes.

“The risk of catching an infection on an aircraft is typically lower than in a shopping centre or office environment,” says the International Air Transport Association, the aviation industry’s global trade organization. And the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency, rates the likelihood of contracting the virus while on flights as “extremely low.”

Nanaimo Airport’s layered approach to airport safety includes a touchless parking app and self baggage tagging at check in (coming soon), mandatory masks and physical distancing. The measures are in addition to enhanced cleaning and sanitization protocols that help protect the entire airport community, from travellers to YCD staff to employees of businesses based at YCD.

Once aboard planes, passengers benefit from even more safety protocols implemented by Air Canada and WestJet. The steps range from using hospital-grade disinfectant while defogging planes to screening travellers with temperature checks before boarding.

Powerful HEPA filters in the planes have a bacteria and virus removal efficiency rate of more than 99 per cent. “Very few travelers know that the HEPA filters circulate new air into the cabin 20 to 30 times per hour, and the circulation is primarily top down so any contaminants are removed from the cabin through the floor,” explains Dave Devana, President and CEO of Nanaimo Airport.

YCD connects travellers to airline hubs in Vancouver and Calgary. Both airports are conducting Rapid Testing Programs that could reduce or eliminate the need for passengers to quarantine.

Devana says Nanaimo Airport and its partners continue to make passenger safety the priority. “When our customers are ready to travel we will provide a safety-first environment.”

Raymond Collishaw: A hero to be remembered

By Uncategorized

Lest We Forget.

We would like to thank and remember all of our past and present Armed Forces, who sacrificed so much for our freedom. On this day of remembrance, we would also like to pay a special tribute to one of those heroes, specifically, our terminal namesake, Raymond Collishaw.

Raymond Collishaw

The Nanaimo Airport Terminal Building was named in honor of World War 1 flying Ace Air Vice Marshall Raymond Collishaw in October of 1999. Our namesake was a Vancouver Island resident born in Nanaimo on November 22, 1893.  He had an illustrious flying career and was the second-highest scoring Ace of World War One.

Collishaw started his career in the Royal Navy Air Service. He joined up when war broke out in Europe and was the commander of the famous all Canadian ‘Black Flight’ squadron. He flew the famous Sopwith triplane named ‘Black Maria’. This was the era of straight forward air dueling where luck and skill won the day. Collishaw was known for his incredible flying abilities, cheerful disposition and was second only to the famous Billy Bishop in the number of aircraft victories with 60, by the end of WWI.

Collishaw had many achievements including the highest number of victories flying the Sopwith Triplane. He would go on to be the commander of three squadrons before the first world war was over.  He received numerous medals and commendations including the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Order with a bar, and the Distinguished Flying cross. Collishaw  finished the war flying bombing raids from France to Germany.

When the war ended, Collishaw elected to remain in the air service, initially serving in Russia and finally attaining the rank of Air Vice-Marshall following distinguished service during the Second World War in the Western Desert.

Collishaw retired from the RAF in July 1943 and settled in Vancouver with his family.

The CBC archives have an excellent documentary interviewing Vice Marshall Raymond Collishaw in 1969 which can be seen here.


Nanaimo Airport safety measures give travellers confidence

By Advisory, Safety Updates, Uncategorized

As always, safety is Nanaimo Airport’s (YCD) top priority. The airport has taken additional safety and hygiene precautions to reduce the risk of spreading disease so people can travel with confidence.

Operating under federal jurisdiction, YCD facilitates air service that keeps critical supply lines open. Airports also play a key role in the country’s economic recovery. YCD connects businesses to their markets and helps to keep people employed.

To continue those essential roles, the airport’s COVID-19 action plan reduces risks for travellers, employees, business partners, contractors and other members of the YCD community.

Here’s what you can expect when using Nanaimo Airport:

·         Limited terminal access

To reduce risk to everyone, it’s important that only essential employees and travellers enter the terminal building. If you’re picking up or dropping someone off, please park in the short-term area immediately outside the terminal and wait in your vehicle. If you must go inside to assist someone, one person is allowed.

  • Carry a mask

For your safety, Nanaimo Airport requires everyone to wear a mask or face covering at all times in the terminal building.  Masks are required for all passengers during security screening, boarding, and during your flight. You may not be allowed to check-in or board your flight without one. (All passengers must also undergo a temperature check before boarding the aircraft.)

  • Increased sanitization

The airport has increased cleaning and disinfecting of common touch points such as luggage carts, gate counters and bathrooms. For your convenience, additional hand sanitizing units have been added throughout the terminal.

  • Social distancing barriers

Plexiglass barriers and 2-meter floor markings throughout the terminal help users maintain safe distancing. Nanaimo Airport’s roomy new departure lounge allows plenty of social distancing while you wait for your flight.

  • Online parking app

You can reduce touchpoints by using the Honk mobile app to pay for parking.

Nanaimo Airport ensures vital air service continues

By Uncategorized

Nanaimo Airport (YCD) has maintained passenger and cargo service while navigating the most challenging time in its history. It ensures essential services, critical supplies and commerce safely continue during the pandemic.

The airport enables freight to move, air ambulances to provide life-saving service, and essential workers to fly to jobs.

And as Canada and B.C. chart their recovery, the airport again plays a vital role for the communities it serves. Air Canada and WestJet have increased flights to Vancouver and Calgary to facilitate travel within Canada. They offered 27 flights per week in July between those destinations. That’s up substantially from the seven weekly flights at the height of the pandemic.

“We remain committed to being the Island’s gateway to the world, a critical economic driver for the region, and a strong community partner,” says Nanaimo Airport CEO and President Dave Devana.

A steady recovery in the airline sector is an important factor in the regional economy. In 2019 YCD activities generated an estimated $486 million in economic impact. The total includes more than 2,750 direct and indirect jobs that Central Island families depend upon for their livelihood.

Nanaimo Airport has maintained air service even as the pandemic hurt its main revenue source – passenger travel. Many operating expenses are locked in.

The pandemic has also affected businesses at the airport. They range from transportation to food service providers. “We’re working together with airport partners to make sure we remain open for business and ready for recovery,” says Devana. “When the travelling public is ready to fly, we will provide our exceptional customer service in a safety-first environment.”

Safety remains YCD’s priority. Its comprehensive COVID-19 policies, outlined in an airport safety video, are designed to protect all users.

“We support our communities and are grateful for, and rely on, their support during these challenging times,” Devana says.

Nanaimo Airport Commission manages and operates YCD as a not-for-profit, community-based organization. It reinvests earnings into Airport infrastructure and improvements that support the Central Island as the best place to live, work and play.

New Nanaimo Airport CEO a leader and innovator

By Uncategorized

Nanaimo Airport’s new President and Chief Executive Office is an innovator with a focus on environmental stewardship and economic development.

Dave Devana assumed the airport’s top position in May. He succeeds the retiring Mike Hooper. For more than 20 years Devana led organizations as Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and Chief Financial Officer in local government. He’s a resident of north Nanaimo, where he lives with his wife.

“Dave is a motivational leader with a wealth of senior management experience,” says Wendy Clifford, Chair of the Nanaimo Airport Commission. “His background makes him uniquely suited to fulfill our vision of being ‘Your Island Gateway to the World’.”

“I am looking forward to working with the Board and the staff to provide a safe, efficient and expanded airport service to our customers,” Devana says. “I also see a great opportunity to apply my skills to partner with local governments, First Nations, non-governmental organizations and business to expand the economic impact of the airport. I am eager to get started working with our partners to enhance our communities.”

Devana spent seven years as CAO for the District of North Cowichan. He was CAO with the Town of Cochrane in Alberta before coming to Nanaimo Airport. Here he oversees Vancouver Island’s second busiest airport and leads a team of 28 employees.

Devana also served as Director of Finance and Deputy CAO in both Sooke and Yellowknife. His peers in local government regard him as an innovator and leader.

He has a broad skillset. He’s a Certified Professional Accountant (CPA). His background includes:

  • land use
  • environmental stewardship
  • government relations and funding
  • financial management
  • strategic planning
  • human resources
  • labour relations

“He brings land development experience that will assist us in implementing long range commercial development and bring economic and employment opportunities to the region,” adds Commission Vice-Chair Dave Witty.

Former CEO Hooper is retiring after 14 years at the helm.

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 takes its focus on Safety to new level

By Uncategorized

Nanaimo Airport has always made safety and security its priority. As a result, it’s become known for its safety-driven culture.
And now the airport is taking it a step further as part of its philosophy of continuous improvement. Nanaimo Airport Commission (NAC) is expanding its risk management program to cover all of its operations.

“We’re developing an enterprise risk-management (ERM) system that incorporates all components of our business,” explains airport president and CEO Mike Hooper. “We want to ensure that we have everything in place to continue our success.”

The new program looks at everything from financial implications of airport decisions to the consequences of an earthquake to staffing and future capital investments.

The new program already has a solid base. The commission has safety, security and business risk systems in place. And an independent review rated the commission’s culture and risk leadership above average. The report compared Nanaimo with other airports of similar sizes and complexity.

“The Board is in full support of addressing risk-related issues and wishes to ensure that all types of risk are addressed to support the achievement of NAC’s strategic goals and objectives,” says the report by MNP LLP.

“The existing culture of training, hazard awareness and procedures represents a solid foundation for NAC to evolve into a more holistic approach to risk management,” the report adds.

Building on that foundation, the ERM system will help reduce exposure to risks. It will also make better use of opportunities for growth, and overall will allow the airport to be more successful.

“We’ve got a number of systems and we’re bringing them together,” Hooper says. “Our customers probably won’t notice much change. But behind the scenes we will be making improvements that will ensure Nanaimo Airport’s ongoing viability as a major transportation hub for Vancouver Island.”

The improvements will be based on leading practices in risk management.

Airport raises region’s profile with national audiences

By Community, Uncategorized

Nanaimo Airport (YCD) gives Central Vancouver Island a two-way connection with the rest of the world.

The region’s global gateway allows residents to travel to thousands of destinations. And it often brings national attention to the Island. The spotlight raises our profile and benefits tourism, business, education and other sectors.

This summer, for example, the airport played a supporting role on an episode of The Amazing Race Canada. It’s the country’s most-watched summer TV series. Viewers watched contestants race through a series of challenges in the Central Island before heading to the airport.

YCD served as the backdrop for one of the most intense moments of the show’s season. The teams got into a heated discussion about their gamesmanship. When things cooled off, the racers boarded a plane to head to their next adventure, in Saskatoon. A graphic then showed the national audience how Nanaimo Airport connects the Island to the rest of the country.

The airport also played a role in another recent event that focused media attention on Nanaimo. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds 431 Air Demonstration Squadron performed high above the city’s downtown harbour. The pilots enthralled thousands of local residents as well as an online audience.

The famed pilots have made several appearances here. Nanaimo Airport provides an opportunity for them to meet with their fans. Last year, the Snowbirds came to Nanaimo Airport as Ambassadors of the C.H.I.L.D Foundation. The charity supports children with liver diseases. The aces spent time with C.H.I.L.D kids and gave them tours of their jets on the airport taxiway.

YCD has played a role in other high-profile events too. They all showcased Central Vancouver Island on the national and international stages.

In 2018, the BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley used the airport as its main gathering point. Hundreds of athletes flew in from around the province. And big-name performers have landed at YCD on their way to the stage at SunFest, Laketown Shakedown and other major Island music festivals.

Nanaimo Airport customer survey offers $2,500 prize

By Uncategorized

Sharing your thoughts about Nanaimo Airport (YCD) could win you a $2,500 travel prize – just in time for the busy summer vacation season.

The Airport is conducting a customer survey as it seeks to provide even more travel options for Central Vancouver Islanders. B.C. residents who fill out the online survey can then enter a contest to win a $1,500 air travel voucher plus $1,000 in spending money. Deadline for entry is July 31, 2019.

The survey asks about your flying habits, use of Nanaimo Airport, destinations you have recently flown to, and destinations you’d like to be able to fly to in the future.

The air travel voucher prize can be used for Air Canada or WestJet flights out of Nanaimo Airport. Travellers can fly non-stop to Vancouver and Calgary year-round, and seasonally direct to Toronto. From those airport hubs, travellers can then connect to flights to hundreds of other destinations around the world.

Flying local during the busy summer travel season saves residents time and money. You can avoid the long lineups and major expense of ferry travel associated with flying out of Vancouver, which often also requires staying overnight in a hotel.

Using Nanaimo Airport allows you to avoid the congestion in terminals at other airports, where long long lines for boarding and security are common. You can call on the Blue Navigators volunteer ambassadors in the YCD terminal to help make your travelling experience stress-free.

And parking near the terminal is plentiful thanks to Nanaimo Airport’s expanded lots, which offer reasonable rates for short-term and long-term parking.

Whether you’re heading out on vacation or for business, remember to be at the airport at least 90 minutes prior to your scheduled departure. That allows time to check baggage and pick up your boarding pass. You must have checked in, obtained your boarding pass and deposited all checked baggage at the baggage drop-off counter 45 minutes before your flight.