Nanaimo Airport records another year of growth

31 January 2024

2023 was another memorable year for Nanaimo Airport (YCD).

Passengers, routes increase

The most central airport connecting Vancouver Island with the world saw another increase in passenger numbers. Some 375,000 people passed through YCD’s gates last year, the highest total since the pre-pandemic record year of 491,000 in 2019.

Island passengers travelled to global destinations thanks to YCD connecting flights offered by Air Canada and WestJet. Flights took leisure and business fliers to Canada’s major airport hubs in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto, and from there around the world.

Even more options became available when Pacific Coastal introduced non-stop flights to Vancouver’s south terminal and the Kelowna International Airport.

Infrastructure strengthened

Multi-million-dollar investments completed last year further enhanced YCD’s infrastructure. The work helped ensure the airport meets the region’s air travel needs now and for future generations. It also helped Nanaimo Airport fulfill its role as a major economic driver for the region.

Highlights included:

  • Completing a $3.8 million concrete infill panel project to improve and expand airplane parking around the Air Terminal Building.
  • Completing a $7.5 million resurfacing of the runway and taxiway, including grooving.
  • Securing a $2 million grant from the B.C. Air Access Program for new runway instrument approach lighting.
  • Opening of a newly renovated car rentals area.

Planning for the future

Nanaimo Airport Commission released its new five-year strategic plan in 2023 to guide airport development. The commission later approved a new Air Terminal Building expansion plan valued at $200 million over two phases.

YCD also completed a socio-economic study to project the impact of completing Phase 2 of its Airport Master Plan. YCD and Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) funded the study.

More airport milestones

Other notable events in 2023 included:

  • A Boeing 737 Max 8, flown by Air Canada, landed at YCD for the first time demonstrating YCD capacity to accommodate this larger narrow body plane that is typically used for international and cross-Canada flights.
  • The new ca website launched.
  • YCD’s Connect with Canada campaign was a finalist in the Airports Council Best in Airport Partnerships Award.