Airport traffic doubles as safe travel resumes

1 February 2023

Passenger traffic at Nanaimo Airport (YCD) nearly doubled over the last year as air travel continued to rebound from the pandemic.
The growth helped the airport maintain its role as a regional economic catalyst and gateway to the world. Airport 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.
“The communities we serve are resuming their travel plans and showing confidence in our ability to provide a safe environment,” says Dave Devana, Nanaimo Airport CEO and president. “We’ve maintained thorough cleaning protocols and reduced touchpoints as part of our commitment to safety.”

At this time of year many people are heading to sun destinations. Thanks to easy connections, travellers can leave Nanaimo in the morning and be on the beach the same day.

What’s ahead in 2023:
The upswing in air travel is forecast to continue. The airport expects to welcome 440,000 passengers in 2023. That would bring passenger totals to 90% of the airport’s pre-pandemic record.
“We are hoping for a full recovery by 2024,” Devana says.

• Routes
YCD is exploring expanded domestic route options in B.C. with regional carriers.
WestJet has flights to Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver. Air Canada flies to Vancouver and is planning seasonal direct flights to Toronto this summer.

• Carbon neutral
Nanaimo Airport has been carbon neutral since 2019 and “we’ll 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 surface. It’s also completing the design for an SSALR lighting system that will improve landing conditions.