Nanaimo Airport Impact Study to Advance Future Expansion

In 2008, the Trust invested $5 million — 10% of its founding capital — into the Phase 1 expansion of YCD Nanaimo Airport. The airport’s contribution to the coastal economy has since increased by more than $445 million.

Strategic report to outline key socio-economic benefits of proposed capital upgrades

COURTENAY, 15 February, 2023 – A new socio-economic study will be carried out by the Nanaimo Airport Commission to project the impact of completing Phase 2 of its Airport Master Plan. The study is being funded by Island Coastal Economic Trust through the Investment Readiness Program and will serve as a crucial component for leveraging significant new capital investment and regional economic development.

Since 2007, the Nanaimo Airport Commission, alongside government, the Trust, and other partners, have invested tens of millions of dollars into 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-$70 million, will build on these efforts and will come at a crucial time in the airport’s growth trajectory as travel returns to pre-pandemic levels.

“As the sixth largest airport in British Columbia 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.”

The report, which will be carried out by the Nanaimo Airport Authority and Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), will outline how planned capital and infrastructure improvements will impact on municipalities, Indigenous communities, regional districts and within 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 will help bolster economic strategies in our region,” says Keith.

The study will examine existing operations, planned terminal upgrades and demonstrated current and future socio-economic impact related to the airport improvements. Improvement plans include increased services and expansion of cargo facilities to meet increased passenger volume, as well as employment opportunities in the aeronautics field, increased commercial opportunities and support for critical emergency services for communities and resource sectors across Vancouver Island.

“We are proud to partner with YCD Nanaimo Airport on this project that will enable the airport commission to secure the next phase of vital infrastructure investments,” says Aaron Stone, Chair, Island Coastal Economic Trust. “The airport has demonstrated that it is a true leader in sustainability through its land and wildlife stewardship practices and its net zero by 2030 carbon emissions commitments.”

“As the Nanaimo community continues to grow, the expansion of the Nanaimo Airport will support our region for years to come and connect it with the world,” said Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan. “This investment from the Island Coastal Economic Trust continues their work to strengthen and diversify our Island economy.”

Island Coastal Economic Trust will contribute $30,000 of the Nanaimo Airport Commission’s total project budget of $60,000 through the Trust’s Investment Readiness Program.

The project will be underway imminently.


About Island Coastal Economic Trust

Founded by the Province of British Columbia in 2006, the Island Coastal Economic Trust works to build an inclusive and resilient coastal economy in reciprocal relationships with First Nations, municipalities, and regional districts across Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, and islands and inlets from the Salish Sea to Cape Caution. Serving over half a million residents, we partner with communities in the development and financing of their economic infrastructure and diversification efforts through our unique structure that is led by, and accountable to, communities.

Since our inception, Island Coastal Economic Trust has approved more than $58 million to economic development initiatives that have attracted over $308 million in new investment to our region. These investments have created over 2,750 permanent jobs, and countless positive impacts, across the coast.

Island Coastal Economic Trust acknowledges that we work for communities across the ancestral and unceded territories of the Kwak̓wala, Nuučaan̓uɫ, Éy7á7juuthem, Ligwilda’xw, Pəntl’áč, She shashishalhem, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Hul’q’umi’num’, diitiidʔaatx̣, SENĆOŦEN, Lekwungen, and T’Sou-ke speaking peoples.


Media Contacts

Brodie Guy
Island Coastal Economic Trust


Keith Granbois
CFO/VP Business Development
Nanaimo Airport Authority