Edmonton International Airport (IATA: YEG, ICAO: CYEG) is the primary air passenger and air cargo facility in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region of the Canadian province of Alberta. Operated by Edmonton Airports, it is located 14 nautical miles (26 km; 16 mi) south southwest of Downtown Edmonton in Leduc County on Highway 2 opposite of the city of Leduc. The airport offers scheduled non-stop flights to major cities in Canada, the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and Europe.
It is a hub facility for Northern Alberta and Northern Canada. The airport has a catchment area encompassing Central and Northern Alberta, northern British Columbia, and Yukon, the Northwest Territories and western Nunavut. Total catchment area is 1.8 million residents. It is Canada's largest major airport by total land area, the 5th busiest airport by passenger traffic and 9th busiest by aircraft movements. It served 8,254,121 passengers in 2018.
Transport Canada selected the current site for Edmonton International Airport, on the opposite side of the city from the military airport at RCAF Station Namao, and purchased over 7,000 acres (28 km2) of land. When the airport opened on November 15, 1960, its first terminal was an arch hangar. Today, it is in use by Summit Air. In 1963, a passenger terminal, built in the international style, was opened. It remains in use as the North Terminal. Artwork, fired by Alberta Natural Gas, adorned the departures area exterior. A large mural, commissioned by the Canadian government in 1963 for CAD$18,000 titled "Bush Pilot in Northern Sky" by Jack Shadbolt, remains to this day. An appraisal in 2005 indicated that the mural was worth $750,000, and a restoration of the mural was undertaken in 2007.
During the 1970s, the airport experienced a rapid growth in traffic as the city of Edmonton grew, and served approximately 2 million passengers by 1980. However, from the early 1980s until 1995, traffic declined. This decline was attributed to the continued usage of Edmonton City Centre Airport as well as to a slowing economy. Edmonton City Centre did not have the facilities to accept large wide-bodied, long-haul aircraft. Thus airlines used City Centre to fly short-haul flights to hubs in other cities where connections to many locations were available.
In 1998, the airport began a $282 million "1998–2005 Redevelopment Project". The three-phase project included the construction of a south terminal and central hall concept, a commuter facility, doubling of the apron, and a multi-storey parkade. This redevelopment project expanded the passenger capacity to 5.5 million.
By the time the expansion project was completed in 2005, continued passenger growth triggered planning for another expansion. A new 107,000-square-foot control and office tower was added in 2009.
Further expansions completed in 2013 including seven new passenger gates, 14 boarding bridges, moving walkways, and advanced baggage handling and scanning systems. A new Renaissance Hotel was another major addition to the airport landscape.
The airport played a major role during the 2016 Fort McMurray Wildfire, operating as hubs for aerial firefighting and Medevac. The airport became a way-station and temporary shelter for thousands of Fort McMurray evacuees. The Emergency Operations Centre in the airport ran for 112 hours, organizing the arrival and departure of hundreds of aircraft. During May 2016, the airport saw more than 300 additional daily flights on top of their regularly scheduled service.
In August 2016, the Government of Alberta announced $90 million in funding to begin twinning Highway 19 and that it has protected the area needed for a third runway, which is required due its estimated 3,530 m (11,580 ft) length and orientation as runway 11/29, causing it to exceed current airport boundaries. The airport also plans to extend runway 12/30 by one-third its current length from 3,100 to 4,030 m (10,170 to 13,220 ft) to increase accessibility and capacity tied to Port Alberta Developments/Intercontinental routes.
The airport had international service soon after it opened. In 1960, Canadian Pacific Airlines was operating nonstop flights to Amsterdam with Bristol Britannia turboprop aircraft several times a week. By 1961, Canadian Pacific had introduced Douglas DC-8 jetliners on its nonstop service to Amsterdam. Also in 1961, US-based Northwest Airlines was operating daily Douglas DC-7C propliner service on a routing of Edmonton - Winnipeg - Minneapolis/St. Paul - Milwaukee - New York City Idlewild Airport (now JFK Airport). In 1962, Trans-Canada Airlines (TCA, now Air Canada) operated direct flights to London's Heathrow Airport once a week via a stop in Winnipeg and also to Paris Orly Airport three times a week via stops in Toronto and Montreal with Douglas DC-8 jets. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Pacific Western Airlines operated Boeing 707 charter flights from the airport to the UK and other destinations in Europe. In 1970, Air Canada operated nonstop Douglas DC-8 service to London-Heathrow twice a week while CP Air flew nonstop DC-8 service to Amsterdam three times a week. CP Air then introduced Boeing 747 jumbo jet service nonstop to Amsterdam with two flights a week being operated in 1976. By 1978, the airline was also flying nonstop Boeing 747 service to Honolulu. Air Canada had also begun daily nonstop Boeing 727-200 service to both Los Angeles and San Francisco by 1979 and was operating direct one stop McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 service to Chicago O'Hare Airport via Winnipeg by 1985. Earlier, in 1983, both airlines were operating wide body jetliners on their respective services to Europe with Air Canada flying Lockheed L-1011 TriStar long range series 500 model aircraft three days a week nonstop to London Heathrow while CP Air was flying Boeing 747 jumbo jets three days a week nonstop to Amsterdam. Wardair Canada also operated scheduled and charter flights to Europe as well as charter service to Hawaii from the airport and in 1979 was operating nonstop charter service to London Gatwick Airport and Prestwick in the UK as well as to Amsterdam and Frankfurt. In 1989, Wardair Canada was operating scheduled nonstop service to London Gatwick and Manchester in the UK and was also operating nonstop charter service at this same time to Frankfurt and Honolulu. The Wardair nonstop service to London Gatwick was being operated with Airbus A310 jets with two flights a week in 1989. LOT Polish Airlines flew to Warsaw, Poland in the late 1990s.
Several US-based air carriers besides Northwest served the airport over the years as well. By 1975, Northwest Airlines was operating nonstop Boeing 727-100 jet service to both Anchorage and Minneapolis/St. Paul while Western Airlines was flying Boeing 727-200 and Boeing 737-200 jets direct to Denver, Salt Lake City and Great Falls (with all of these services first stopping in Calgary). Hughes Airwest also served the airport with Douglas DC-9-10 and McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 jets on nonstop flights to Spokane as well as direct flights to Las Vegas and Los Angeles. By 1980, Hughes Airwest was operating five daily departures from Edmonton with Boeing 727-200 and McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 jetliners with direct service via Calgary to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, Burbank, Reno, Boise, Spokane and Palm Springs. In 1981, Western Airlines was operating a daily nonstop Boeing 727-200 flight to Denver with continuing direct service to Phoenix and Los Angeles while Republic Airlines, which had acquired Hughes Airwest, flew daily nonstop Douglas DC-9-10 service to Las Vegas and Spokane. By 1982, Republic Airlines was operating all of its flights to the U.S. from Edmonton via an intermediate stop in Calgary with direct service to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Spokane and Palm Springs. Also in 1982, Northwest was operating a daily Boeing 727-200 flight on a routing of Edmonton - Minneapolis/St. Paul - Chicago O'Hare Airport - Miami - Fort Lauderdale. United Airlines operated a daily Boeing 727-100 nonstop flight to San Francisco with direct one-stop service to Los Angeles in 1983. Western Airlines operated a Boeing 727-200 nonstop to Salt Lake City in 1987 with this daily flight providing direct one stop service to Los Angeles. Delta Air Lines then acquired and merged with Western with Delta continuing to operate nonstop service to Salt Lake City from the late 1980s to the mid 1990s, first with a Boeing 727-200 and later with a Boeing 757-200 with these flights providing direct one stop service to Los Angeles as well.
In 1999, Canadian Airlines International flew daily nonstop Boeing 737-200 service to Chicago O'Hare Airport while Air BC flew nonstop British Aerospace BAe 146-200 jet service to Denver on behalf of Air Canada on a code sharing basis as an Air Canada Connector air carrier. Also in 1999, Horizon Air began nonstop Fokker F28 Fellowship jet service to Seattle flying on behalf of Alaska Airlines on a code sharing basis. Martinair Holland also operated flights between Edmonton International Airport and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport prior to the termination of this airline's passenger service.
Edmonton International Airport offers United States border preclearance facilities. Passengers from domestic flights connecting in Edmonton to a US destination use Quick Connect, which enables passengers to clear US Customs and Border Protection without having to claim and recheck baggage or re-clear security during the connection.
The four-star Renaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel is attached to the terminal.
Airlines and destinations
Edmonton International Airport provides scheduled non-stop flights to 55 destinations. It serves as the hub for domestic carrier Flair Airlines. Edmonton is also the western hub for Swoop, becoming the largest hub for Swoop in the winter, flying 51 departures weekly during the season. Edmonton is one of WestJet's largest focus cities; the airline flies to 30 destinations with an average of 62 daily departures, nonstop, from Edmonton. WestJet (and its subsidiaries) are the largest carriers at Edmonton International Airport, holding more than 70% of the market share.
The airport is home to a purpose built facility on its southern edge that is shared by Alberta Health Services fixed-wing air ambulance operations, as well as one of three bases in the province for STARS helicopter air ambulance. Nor-Alta Aviation also provides Air Ambulance services at Edmonton Airport under contract from Alberta Health Services. Nor-Alta Aviation purchased Can-West Corporate Air Charters Ltd., and became Can-West Corporate Air Charters a Nor-Alta Aviation Company in late 2015.
The Edmonton Area Control Centre (ICAO: CZEG) operated by Nav Canada is located at the airport. It is responsible for all aircraft movements over Alberta and most of northern Canada, including the high Arctic.
In May 2015, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for a new premium outlet mall by developer Ivanhoé Cambridge, named Premium Outlet Collection - Edmonton International Airport, which is to be located at the airport. Construction officially began in spring 2016 on the more than 580,000 sq ft (54,000 m2) shopping mall and opened on May 2, 2018. The mall features over 100 outlet stores, with many of them making their Canadian debut. Adjacent to the mall is a business park and hotels.
In 2016, Aurora Sky began building the world's largest and most advanced marijuana production facility in the world. The facility, which is expected to be completed by 2018, will be over 75,000 m2 (810,000 sq ft) in area and produce more than 100,000 kg (220,000 lb) of cannabis annually.
Edmonton Transit System (ETS) provides express service between the Edmonton International Airport and the Century Park LRT Station, facilitating connections to the region's wider transit system. Route 747 runs between 4:10 a.m. and midnight every 30 minutes most times of the day.
The SkyShuttle services the airport and selected stops in the city of Edmonton typically adjacent to major hotels. This service must be pre-booked by phone or online.
The airport is accessible from Queen Elizabeth II Highway south of Edmonton.
Appearances in media
On October 5, 2016, the History Channel began airing a new series that revolves around the Edmonton International Airport, Airport: Below Zero. The show follows the airport's day-to-day operations and how the staff are able to keep the airport running smoothly, even during the extreme winter weather.
Accidents and incidents
- On January 2, 1973, a Boeing 707-321C CF-PWZ of Pacific Western Airlines. A cargo flight of 86 cattle from Toronto, Ontario with five crew-members on board, was on approach to runway 30, visibility was poor with blowing snow, and turbulence. It struck the ground 1 mi (1.6 km) short of runway 30. Hitting trees, power-lines and a gravel ridge then erupted into fire. All five of the crew-members were killed in the crash as well as all the cattle. The aircraft was damaged beyond economic repair. No investigation was done so the crash cause is still unidentified.
- On November 6, 2014, a Bombardier DHC-8-402 C-GGBF of Air Canada Express. A passenger flight from Calgary to Grande Prairie with 71 passengers and three crew-members, During take off the third tire of the main landing gear burst. This caused a loud bang noise inside the plane. Head winds prevented landing back in Calgary, so it was diverted to Edmonton International Airport. During the landing the right main landing gear collapsed. The propellers on the right side of plane struck the ground and broke, one of the blades went through the cabin wall injuring three passengers.