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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.

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.

Blue Navigators offer friendly smiles, aid at busy Nanaimo Airport

By | Uncategorized

Many things are changing at Nanaimo Airport due to a major terminal building expansion. But one thing remains constant: a commitment to customer service.

The airport’s customer service team works relentlessly to make the travel experience as comfortable as possible. Thanks to them, construction has created minimal disruption even during a period of record passenger volume.

The Blue Navigators volunteers are a big part of Nanaimo Airport’s customer service. Known for their blue vests, they provide help and hospitality to airport users in the terminal. And they’ve gone out of their way to create a friendly atmosphere for travellers during the expansion work.

“We really appreciate the efforts of the Blue Navigators,” says airport President and CEO Mike Hooper. “It’s challenging to run a busy airport while undergoing major construction and they’ve made sure our customers are always taken care of.”

The ambassadors assist with information or travel-related needs. They provide special assistance for travellers with disabilities and mobility impairments. They answer questions about everything from parking to finding lost credit cards. And they serve as tourism ambassadors. They share information about Vancouver Island and maintain the airport’s travel information centre.

“Our Blue Navigators volunteers help take the stress out of travel. Their warm, friendly greetings are a great way to begin or end a trip,” says Laurie Hawthornthwaite, Nanaimo Airport Customer Service Coordinator.

Last year, 38 volunteers gave 5,450 hours of their time. Since the program began in June 2012, volunteers have been on duty for a remarkable 28,000 hours.

More volunteers with customer service experience are welcome to join the team. It’s an ideal role for retirees or high school and university students interested in volunteering in their community. To learn more about becoming a Blue Navigator, please contact Laurie Hawthornthwaite at 250-924-2157 Ext 268.

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.”

Customer service team at Nanaimo Airport eases travel stress

By | Uncategorized

The friendly customer service team at Nanaimo Airport devotes each day to one goal: making the travel experience comfortable.

It’s a big job. Hundreds of thousands of passengers go through the airport gates every year. And that means thousands of requests for assistance, from parking and airport information to tourism suggestions to finding lost credit cards. This year has been especially busy, as the team works diligently to fulfill the airport’s commitment to customer service during expansion-related construction.

“Our goal is to provide a positive, stress-free experience for passengers and visitors in a safe, secure and friendly environment,” explains Customer Care Advisor Laurie Hawthornthwaite.

She oversees a team of three customer service representatives: Tiffany Braun, Char Blois and Mike Anderson. She also supervises 37 Blue Navigator Ambassadors, the blue-vested volunteers who have provided almost 25,000 hours of service since June 2012.

The team is onsite 4:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. seven days a week. It’s rewarding work, they say. “I love when I can help take some of the stress out of travel,” says Braun.

And team members have many happy stories to share.

“My favourite time,” recalls Blue Navigators volunteer Tricia Barnes, “was when I realized that a lady with a fair amount of luggage was chatting amiably with a few folks and had not realized that her plane was within minutes of taking off! I rushed over and assisted her. She was escorted very quickly through Security and on to her plane on route to Europe.”

Passenger feedback attests to the friendly service people receive at Nanaimo Airport.

“Just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed visiting with the Blue Navigators volunteer,” one airport user wrote. “He made us feel welcome and visited like he was an old friend. My daughter was particularly taken with his incredible sense of humour. Thanks for all you do to make vacations special — even the airport experience.”

Why Nanaimo Airport is your Best Travel Choice

By | Uncategorized

Thinking of heading to the sun to escape our long winter? Starting your trip at Nanaimo Airport can get things off to a flying start. Here’s why it makes sense to use the Central Island’s airport of choice.

  1. It’s your gateway to the world

Thanks to hundreds of connecting flights available through Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, travelers can easily leave Nanaimo in the morning and be on a beach for sunset. Mexico, Hawaii, and Florida are just some of the sun destinations within easy reach.

  1. It saves money

Those flight “deals” out of large airports can be pretty costly. Travelers using another airport take a hit to the wallet due to costs for gas, ferry fare and often a night in a hotel. Nanaimo Airport passengers don’t pay those additional hidden costs.

  1. It’s hassle-free

Large, impersonal airports often mean long lineups and jockeying with thousands of other travelers, both for arrivals and departures. And when passengers return tired after a long trip, they’re still hours from home.

At Nanaimo Airport, travelers get fast service with a personal touch. The air terminal’s compact and well-designed layout puts everything within a few steps of the front door. The Blue Navigator  Ambassadors help with any questions. Efficient security and baggage screening means less time spent in lineups and more time spent relaxing. Luggage can usually be picked up within minutes.

  1. It’s convenient

The airport is within an easy drive of all central Island communities. Flying out of Nanaimo lets passengers avoid ferry lineups or sailing waits. They can sleep in their own beds the night before a flight.

  1. It’s dependable

Travelers booking flights at Nanaimo Airport can count on getting where they want to go. The airport’s weather reliability rating of approximately 98 per cent means nearly all scheduled flights take off and land.

Extreme weather, of course, can impact flights at any airport, and seaplanes too. Even ferry travel is at the mercy of Mother Nature.