Along with technological advancements, expansions and new developments, Canadian airlines have also focused on improving passenger experiences while traveling, despite financial cutbacks. In recent years, Canadian airports have incorporated new terminals and services provided to passengers, as well as higher standards for dining and shopping.
Canada’s award-winning airports have raised the standards for traveling expectations. Their unique architecture along with exceptional service is changing the negative stigma usually associated with traveling. Canadian airports are among the first in North America to provide passengers with unique, hassle-free flying experiences, with most servicing destinations throughout Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean, Iceland and Africa.
1. Toronto Pearson International Airport
Howard Eng, President and CEO.
As one of the world’s top 20 airports for aircraft movement and access to over 180 cities worldwide, the Toronto Pearson International Airport is the winner of the 2010 IARA Eagle Award for Most Improved Airport. Located close to downtown Toronto, the airport services North and South America, Central America, the Caribbean, as well as Europe and Asia.
As the world’s 35th busiest airport by total passenger traffic, it handles more international flights than every airport in North America, besides John F. Kennedy Airport. The two terminals serve as an operating base for Air Transat, CanJet and Sunwing Airlines. Terminal 1 has access to 58 gates reserved for domestic, international, and transborder flights, all at 567,000 square meters. The second terminal provides 39 gates and was built as a private venture terminal, housing a U.S. customs preclearance facility. Designed by Joint Venture Architect and Adamson Associates, the airport directly employs more than 1,000 while the community employs more than 40,000 people.
The airport also features a Plaza Premium Lounge, a facility that allows travelers the necessities to ensure a comfortable traveling experience. Among the various amenities, the Plaza Premium Lounge provides a luxurious and aesthetically pleasing space for travelers to wait for flights while enjoying the coffee, tea or bar service at their beverage counter, a deliciously hot meal in between flights or if the need arises, shower services that includes toiletries such as towels, soaps and shampoos. With up to a 200-guest capacity, the Plaza Premium Lounge is able to provide service to a wide-range of passengers along with booths that accommodate computer access and complimentary Wi-Fi, as well as private and VIP areas for meetings.
Among the airlines that service the Toronto Pearson International Airport are charter lines such as Arkefly, CanJet, Miami Air International and Spy King, with Cargo airlines such as Aero Logic, Cathay Pacific Cargo, FedEx Express, Korean Air Cargo, Lufthansa Cargo and UPS Airlines.
2. Vancouver International Airport
Craig Richmond, CEO
Not only is the Vancouver International Airport known as being the best airport in the world, it won a Skytrax World Airport Award for “Best North American Airport.” It’s located conveniently close to downtown British Columbia and serves destinations through North America, the Caribbean, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
Servicing three terminals, Vancouver International is one of eight airports in Canada that holds access to a U.S. border clearance facility. Each terminal holds domestic and international flights, as well as one terminal that acts as a floatplane terminal. Unlike many airports, Vancouver International allows access to a large variety of airlines including Air Canada, Orca Airways and Japan Airlines.
Among the projects completed between 2000-2007, Vancouver International recently announced a Master Plan and Land Use Plan that serves to examine 20 years at the best possible allocation of resources. The Master Plan is set to be complete in 2027. Just recently, Vancouver International has completed a number of projects and is set to continue on its aggressive growth trajectory. Like the Master Plan, Vancouver is implementing a 10-year strategy and capital plan to enhance customer experience as well as build new high-speed baggage systems, update runway enhancements and implement more than 700 metres of secure corridors for passenger convenience.
Vancouver International focuses on providing a satisfying flying experience. By employing more than 26,000 employees, Vancouver International is able to provide travelers with a stress-free trip.
3. Calgary International Airport
Calgary International Airport serves as “a hub of choice” for travelers looking to have an easy and satisfying flying experience. Among their many amenities, Calgary International serves as headquarters to WestJet, while acting as a hub airport for Air Canada and Air Canada Express. Not only is Calgary known for their exceptional business, it also received an award for “Top Employers” by Media Corp Canada. Calgary International currently employs over 24,000 across 100 different companies.
Calgary International is also known for being the home of the longest runway and tallest control tower in Canada. Currently, the four active runways measure 14,000ft x 200ft; 12,675ft x 20ft; 8,000ft x 200ft; and 6,200ft x 150ft respectively. The airport land currently sits on 8.2471 square miles of land.
Unlike most airports, Calgary has one terminal that splits into four concourses. One concourse is divided into two wings— the first to accommodate international flights and another to accommodate international flights to the U.S. This wing also provides access to pre-border customs facility.
Calgary International is currently working on various projects of expansion, including the building of an international terminal featuring 22 gates to better accommodate the Airbus A380, a new, larger airliner that includes a double deck, a wide body and four engines.
4. Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (MPETIA)
James C. Cherry, CEO
When traveling to Canada, there is no larger gateway than entering through Montreal-Pierre Trudeau International. Located not far from downtown Montreal, this airport provides a comfortable flying experience. With services throughout North America, Central America, the Caribbean, Western Asia and Africa, the Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is ideal for many travelers.
As a not-for-profit corporation without share capital, MPTEIA is owned by Transport Canada and serves as the busiest airport in the Province of Quebec. With multiple headquarters including Air Canada, Innotech-Execair, Starlink, and Air Transat, the airport is one of eight airports in Canada with access to U.S. Border Preclearance Customs. Like Calgary International, MPETIA has one terminal and three concourses to serve international and domestic flights.
Along with the multiple headquarters housed in the airport, MPETIA holds the operating base for Air Inuit, Air Transat, CanJet, and Sunwing Airlines.
MPETIA employs over 700.
Beginning in 2011, MPETIA began development for an international terminal expansion featuring six new gates to accommodate the Airbus A380, as well as two remote stands. The project is set to be complete by September 2016.
5. Edmonton International Airport
Tom Ruth, CEO
After a considerable expansion beginning in 2007, Edmonton has provided guests an increased number in gates, as well as a wider range of food concepts. With access to more than 25 destinations and 46 departures daily, Edmonton serves as one of Canada’s physically largest airports. Along with the expansion, Marriott just recently opened an eight story, 213-room Renaissance Hotel located near the north terminal.
With over 4,000 employees throughout 80 companies, Edmonton International Airport is the fifth busiest airport in Canada by passenger traffic.
Currently, the Edmonton International services 17 different airlines including Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines, Iceland Air, United Airlines and US Airways. Also, Edmonton International is the southern operating base for Canadian North Inc.
Expansion began in 2012 for an added 480,000 square feet of space to add nine new gates, giving Edmonton a total of 26 gates. Edmonton International is also equipped to service the Airbus A380.
Edmonton International Airport also won two Airports Council International Awards for Airport Retail, including “Best Convenience Retail Program.”
6. Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport
Mark Laroche, CEO
While each airport serves its own purpose, the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International airport holds the busiest flight corridor between Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal, while being an integral access to the Arctic. While only serving destinations throughout North America, the Caribbean and the United Kingdom, the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier airport provides travelers with better accommodation to their physical needs, such as reflexology and spa/massage treatments.
With two terminals, Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport is able to accommodate 12 airlines including Canadian North, Delta Connection, and First Air. With two fields, the airport is able to separate runways. The North field has one active runway and the South Field has two longer runways that are currently active.
With over 13 employees, Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport provides excellent customer service, winning “Best Airport in North America” of the Airport Service Quality Awards by Airports International.
Where many airports focus on expansion, Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport focuses on creating an interactive environment for guests, as well as giving back to the community. In their charitable experience, Ottawa International Airport has given more than $1,100,000 to support local charities, including Project Clear Skies, a charity aimed to support the local community aiding children at risk, breast cancer research and rape crisis center’s, among many more.
7. Halifax Stanfield International Airport
Joyce F. Carter, FCA, CEO
Currently serving as the Maritimes’ biggest airport, Halifax Standfield International holds the 2009 ACI award for Top Airport in North America terms of passenger service, among many industry awards. With access to North America, the Caribbean and Europe, this airport provides a friendly, informative flying experience by offering airport tours. Guests on the tours are able to join RCMP customs agents, as well as their dogs to search suspicious luggage for terrorist bombs, according to FlightNetwork.
Home to 15 different airlines including Canada Express and WestJet, Halifax Standfield International services over more than 3.5 million passengers a year. Since 1998, renovation in terminals and other surrounding areas have been complete, including rehabilitation of runways and taxiways, more terminals and more accessible parking. Halifax also provides preclearance for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In 2012, further expansions of runways were complete, increasing runway length from 8,800 feet to 10,500 feet, as well as previous expansions of taxiways.
8. Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport
Barry Rempel, CEO
Currently, Winnipeg is the oldest Canadian international airport, serving cities throughout Canada. Unlike most airports, Winnipeg also services Iceland, as well as cities throughout Europe, North America and the Caribbean. Winnipeg International is also the home to the Western Canadian Aviation Museum, housing a collection of various places including commercial, military, and brush planes. The Western Canadian Aviation Museum also houses Canada’s very first helicopter, all located in an original aircraft hanger.
Winnipeg International Airport serves as a 24-hour unrestricted airport, one of few in Canada. Unlike many airports, Winnipeg International has one main terminal and smaller terminals that serve specific airlines. The main terminal is LEED-certified, the first in Canada.
Serving 13 airlines and employing over 20,000 jobs, Winnipeg International serves economically efficient engines, unlike many airports throughout the globe.
9. Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
Geoffrey A. Wilson, CEO
Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, Billy Bishop Toronto is a relatively local airport, providing access to select Canadian and American cities. However, this airport succeeds in accommodating passengers by providing complimentary beverages and snacks, as well as large Apple computers with web-browsing access. Billy Bishops downtown location also provides travelers with a hauntingly beautiful view of Lake Ontario, as well as the famous Toronto skyline.
With one terminal, the airport holds seven hangars, as well as tenants of the airport including, Air Canada Express, Cameron Air Service, Eagle Aircraft, Porter Airlines, etc.
Expansion includes the purchase of 12 Bombardier CS100 passenger jets with hope to purchase 18 more, as well as extension of runways to allot for more space, set to be complete in 2015. In January 2014, Toronto Port Authority requested $100 million from the federal government to improve infrastructure. The request has yet to be approved.
10. Victoria International Airport
Geoff Dickson, CEO
Located in beautiful Victoria, the Victorian International Airport is famous among tourists wishing to visit Vancouver Island. Among many amenities, the Victoria International Airport is the home to White Spot, a famous British Columbia restaurant that serves old fashion burgers. Though this airport is fairly busy, it has limited service to destinations throughout North America.
The main terminal includes nine gates. Gates one to five are equipped for international traveling. Victoria International Airport has completed a number of projects, including the addition of terminal to public parking, two new passenger-loading bridges, new maintenance facility and fire hall, and a walking path around the perimeter of the airport. New developments are set to be complete including increasing lighting on runways, terminal expansion and increase taxiway exits.