Air Canada’s flights are part of a measured reopening of the economy. They will boost Vancouver Island’s vital tourism and hospitality sectors and make it easier for Islanders to visit and host family and friends from Eastern Canada via the Toronto Pearson International Airport.
“Air Canada is a valued partner that supported Nanaimo Airport during the pandemic and continues to support us during reopening,” says Dave Devana, President and CEO of Nanaimo Airport Commission. “We share a commitment to safety and have comprehensive plans to ensure passengers can travel safely while reconnecting with family and friends.”
The non-stop flights start July 4, after B.C.’s July 1 planned reopening date for domestic travel within Canada. One flight a week is scheduled initially. The schedule may expand in August depending on the reopening plans and success of the vaccination programs in Canada.
Air Canada will also resume its service to Calgary starting July 1, with five flights planned per week. The airline’s Nanaimo services will return to all three airports it served in summer 2019: Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto.
“With Canada’s ongoing vaccine roll-out acceleration together with various provincial governments’ reopening plans that include travel, this summer is looking brighter. As customers are ready to travel, Air Canada is taking a leadership position to support our partners in Canada’s tourism and hospitality sector with service to 50 destinations from coast to coast, the re-start of regional services and new, non-stop flights. We are thrilled to resume our non-stop flights from Nanaimo to both Toronto and to Calgary, offering additional choices to and from Vancouver Island,” said Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada.
Travellers on the Nanaimo-Toronto route will fly aboard an Air Canada mainline narrow-body aircraft. It offers a choice of two classes of service, complementary inflight entertainment at every seat and options to purchase wi-fi to stay connected.
This flight signals the restart of air travel and the domestic tourism and hospitality sectors on Vancouver Island, Devana says. “The direct flight to Toronto shows that Air Canada has a vested interest in Nanaimo Airport by putting this route on our schedule as we prudently look to reopen our economy,” he says.
Nanaimo Airport will resume its role as the central Island’s gateway, thanks to connecting flights that put domestic destinations, business markets and employment opportunities within easy reach.
“Air access to Vancouver Island is a critical component for the long-term recovery of the tourism industry in our region,” says Anthony Everett, President and CEO of Tourism Vancouver Island. “It is a positive sign to see a major carrier making this investment in the Mid-Island as the restart of travel begins.”
The airport is a key economic driver for the region. Its operations directly and indirectly support thousands of jobs that provide livelihood for Central Island families.
Nanaimo Airport Commission is taking a leadership position to help fuel the region’s economic recovery, with a $28.8-million infrastructure capital plan. The investment over the next five years will enhance airport infrastructure to provide additional route development options, including seasonal sun destinations.
The airport will welcome passengers back to its award-winning terminal building. The terminal expansion project won the Community Institutional Award of Excellence in the 2021 Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. The terminal earlier won an Illuminating Engineering Society award for interior lighting design.