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More travel helps airport drive economic recovery

By Uncategorized

Air travel — a vital component of Central Vancouver’s Island recovery — is rebounding at Nanaimo Airport.

An estimated 20,000 passengers safely flew in and out of the airport in July. The total reflects a pattern of steadily increasing domestic travel that coincided with B.C.’s reopening under the guidance of chief public health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. In June the airport saw 11,000 passengers. May’s count was 7,600.

More route options, enhanced safety protocols, a return of tourism, and pent-up demand for travel are driving the rebound. Air Canada resumed its direct Nanaimo-Toronto flight in the summer. WestJet added a Nanaimo-Edmonton route. The airlines also increased the number of flights to their hubs in Vancouver and Calgary.

More traffic at the airport means more economic benefit to the region, notes Dave Devana, Nanaimo Airport’s president and chief executive officer. The airport directly and indirectly sustains thousands of jobs that support Central Island families. It’s an essential transportation hub. And it serves as the Island’s gateway to the world’s destinations, markets and job opportunities.

Nanaimo Airport Commission has begun a $28.8-million capital plan that will further drive economic recovery. The plan calls for improvements to the airport over the next five years.

The rebound in passenger volume is in its infancy as the airport strives to return to pre-pandemic levels. July’s passenger count was approximately 50 percent of the July 2019 traffic. After setting a passenger volume record in 2019, the airport saw a 65% decrease in 2020.

The next step in the recovery requires a relaxation of Canadian restrictions on travel to international destinations, especially the U.S. The federal government is launching COVID vaccination certification for international travel.

Nanaimo Airport anticipates air travel will return to pre-pandemic levels sometime in 2023.

Edmonton route expands travel options at Nanaimo Airport

By Uncategorized

The Nanaimo Airport and its airline partners continue to drive the Island’s economic recovery. WestJet launched a direct Nanaimo-Edmonton route this summer. And it creates even more travel and business options for residents.

Two non-stop flights per week – Fridays and Sundays – connect the cities. A De Havilland Dash8 Q400 carries up to 78 people for the two-hour trip.

“We value our partnership with WestJet,” says Dave Devana, President and CEO of Nanaimo Airport Commission . “They continue to support the Central Island during reopening of the economy and tourism. Their investment in this route shows again how Nanaimo is an important transportation hub. It also demonstrates how the Nanaimo Airport helps drive recovery for the communities we serve by attracting investment.”

“As we look to the coming months with cautious optimism, we know our restart agenda will be pivotal to Canada’s economic recovery,” says Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “Stimulating air travel benefits all Canadians and supports those hardest hit; with one in every 10 Canadian jobs tied to travel and tourism, the ripple effect benefits our whole country.”

Both the airport and WestJet make safety a priority. The Edmonton route arrived as Canadian vaccination programs made significant progress. It’s also part of a measured reopening of the economy. “Our comprehensive plans help ensure passengers can travel safely. They can reconnect with family, friends and business and employment opportunities,” Devana says.

The route is a huge convenience for Islanders who work in Alberta. It also opens up leisure travel possibilities. WestJet offers global connecting flights from Edmonton International Airport. The airline also offers non-stop service from Nanaimo to Vancouver and Calgary.

“We’ve had a lot of requests for the Edmonton route from our communities,” says Devana. “We listened and have been working with WestJet to provide the service. We appreciate the confidence they’re showing in us. We also appreciate the continuing support from residents that makes us the region’s gateway to the world.”

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.


Nanaimo Airport Looking to Future

By Uncategorized

Vaccination programs are progressing in B.C. and across Canada. As they do, Nanaimo Airport is prepared to welcome passengers back once they are ready to travel in a safety-first environment.

The airport remains cautiously optimistic that travel restrictions will be relaxed this summer and fall. It also remains committed to safety as its top priority. The airport and its airline partners have extensive safety measures in place.

Toronto, Edmonton Flights Planned this Summer

Air Canada and WestJet have proposed summer schedules that include a new route and the return of Toronto seasonal service. Existing routes get additional flights.

Here are the proposed options:

  • Expanded flight options to Vancouver by both airlines
  • Expanded flight options to Calgary by both airlines
  • The resumption of Air Canada Rouge flights weekly between Nanaimo and Toronto’s Pearson Airport. They start on July 3. Flights are planned for Saturdays and Sundays through Sept. 5, 2021. Travellers will fly aboard an Airbus 220. It’s one of the most efficient and low-noise planes in its class. Its new to the Nanaimo route and will be set up with a 136-seat configuration.
  • New flight to Edmonton by WestJet, starting on June 25. Two flights are planned per week, on Fridays and Saturdays.

The expanded schedule upholds Nanaimo Airport’s role as the region’s “gateway to the world.” Travellers will be able to connect to Canada’s major airport hubs using the airport as home base.

Comprehensive Safety Measures

Nanaimo Airport’s safety protocols include a touchless parking app and self baggage tagging at check-in. These are in addition to mandatory masks, physical distancing, and enhanced cleaning and sanitization.

Air Canada and WestJet safety measures include defogging planes with hospital-grade disinfectant and screening passengers before boarding. Airplane HEPA filters can remove more than 99 per cent of bacteria and viruses. They circulate new air into the cabin 20 to 30 times per hour.

“We’re ready to welcome passengers back once they feel safe to travel again,” says Dave Devana, President and CEO of Nanaimo Airport.

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.