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

By January 14, 2021Uncategorized

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.


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