Traffic Doubles, Nanaimo Airport Ready For The Future

Passenger traffic at Nanaimo Airport (YCD) nearly doubled over the last year as air travel continued to rebound after the pandemic.

It’s an important progression for airport sustainability, which is critical for the region. The airport continues to be a key economic catalyst as well as the region’s gateway to the world. Its operations directly and indirectly generate thousands of jobs that support local families.

An estimated 340,000 people went through the gates in 2022 at the Central Island’s airport of choice. That compares with 193,425 in 2021.

Dave Devana, Nanaimo Airport CEO and president, said: “The communities we serve are resuming their travel plans and showing confidence in our ability to provide a safe environment.”

And Devana added: “Safety is our top priority. We’ve maintained thorough disinfecting and cleaning protocols and reduced touchpoints, and our business partners have done the same.”

As for what’s ahead for 2023 at the airport:

  • More growth in passenger numbers — The upswing in air travel is forecast to continue. YCD projects 440,000 passengers will fly in and out of Nanaimo in 2023. The dramatic growth would bring passenger totals to 90% of the airport’s pre-pandemic record. “We are hoping for a full recovery by 2024,” Devana says.
  • Exploring new routes — “We are exploring expanded domestic route options in B.C. with regional carriers,” Devana says. WestJet continues its direct flight to Edmonton that was launched last year. It also flies to Vancouver and Calgary. Air Canada is now focused on Vancouver flights, and is still planning seasonal direct flights to Toronto this summer.
  • Carbon neutrality — Nanaimo Airport has been carbon neutral since 2019 and “we will continue looking at ways to reduce our carbon footprint,” says Devana, including the continued purchase of carbon offsets.  YCD received its Airport Carbon and Emissions Tool (ACERT) Level 1 certification in 2022. “Our plan is to be Net Zero by 2030 guided by our Climate Change Action Plan.”
  • Infrastructure upgrades — YCD will complete its runway rehabilitation project in 2023 with grooving of the runway surface. It’s also completing the design for an SSLAR lighting system that will improve the landing conditions for the airport’s business partners.”