Airport study focuses on driving regional growth

2 March 2023

A new study by Nanaimo Airport Commission will be used to help attract new investment that drives regional growth.

The socio-economic study will project the impact of completing Phase 2 of the Airport Master Plan. The results will be a crucial component in securing significant capital investment and regional economic development.

The airport and Island Coastal Economic Trust are jointly funding the study. It will be led by the Commission and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

Nanaimo Airport is the sixth largest airport in B.C. and one of the fastest growing in terms of annual passenger volumes.

“We need to have a better understanding of how our airport can support this increased movement of people and align with regional tourism strategies,” says Keith Granbois, Chief Financial Officer and VP, Business Development.

“Results from this planned, strategic socio-economic study are critical in helping us articulate to the communities we serve the current and future potential of our planned project works.”

Since 2007, the Nanaimo Airport Commission has partnered with government, the Trust, and other stakeholders to invest tens of millions of dollars into infrastructure. Projected included runway expansions, instrument upgrades, runway lighting, road and parking expansion, emergency response service, and the recently opened terminal expansion.

The second development phase, estimated at between $35 million and $70 million, will build on these efforts. It will come at a crucial time in the airport’s growth trajectory as travel returns to pre-pandemic levels.

The study will review how planned capital and infrastructure improvements will impact municipalities, Indigenous communities, and regional districts. It will look at the impact on key economic sectors across Vancouver Island, including tourism, resource and agri-food, and transportation.

“We’re interested in supporting regional growth strategies, and our analysis of expanded flight offerings and potential new business partnerships can help bolster economic strategies in our region,” says Granbois.

Island Coastal Economic Trust will contribute $30,000 of the study’s budget of $60,000 through its Investment Readiness Program.