Nanaimo airport spending millions, despite poor economic outlook

A headshot of Dave Devana standing outside a building
Dave Devana, CEO Nanaimo Airport Commission. Photo courtesy of Nanaimo Airport Commission.
Lisa Cordasco - CHLY - NanaimoBC | 13-01-2021
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The Nanaimo Airport Commission is planning millions of dollars in capital improvements, despite losing $1.4 million dollars last year. The non-profit will spend $29 million dollars over the next five years on new runway lighting, improvements to its runway and taxiway as well as expansion of the apron where passengers disembark.

The airport's CEO, Dave Devana, says despite the decline in revenues, now is a good time to begin capital projects:

The airport commission completed a $14 million dollar terminal expansion last February to better serve half a million passengers a year. Then the pandemic struck. The airport's CEO says passenger counts plummeted by 96 per cent last April and current volumes are down by 70 per cent, compared to the same time last year.

Devana says passenger counts are not expected to return to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2024 because of the industry's reliance on international markets:

Devana adds that the airport has managed to weather the downturn and avoid layoffs through the federal government's wage subsidy program.