Edmonton International Airport

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Edmonton International Airport (IATA: YEG, ICAO: CYEG) is the primary air passenger and air cargo facility in the Edmonton region in the Canadian province of Alberta. It is a hub facility for Northern Alberta and Northern Canada providing regularly scheduled nonstop flights to over fifty communities in Canada, the United States, Latin America and Europe. It is Canada's largest major airport by total land area, 5th busiest airport by passenger traffic, and the 13th busiest by aircraft movements. Operated by Edmonton Airports and located 14 NM (26 km; 16 mi) south southwest of downtown Edmonton, in Leduc County, it served approximately 6.1 million passengers in both 2009 and 2010.

Airline usage

Edmonton International Airport is one of WestJet's largest focus cities; the low-cost airline operating to 28 non-stop destinations from Edmonton. WestJet is by far the largest carrier at Edmonton International Airport, holding more than 50% of the market share. Edmonton is also a focus city for flag carrier Air Canada and Air Canada Express, which combined operate to 14 destinations.

Air North, Canadian North, WestJet, and First Air connect their northern networks through Edmonton.

Edmonton International Airport offers US Border Pre-clearance facilities.

History

Transport Canada selected the current site for Edmonton International Airport and bought over 7,000 acres (28 km2) of land. When the airport opened in 1960, its first terminal was an arch hangar. Today, it is in use by L-3 Communications. 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 Federal government in 1963 for $18,000) "Bush Pilot in Northern Sky" by Jack Shadbolt, remains from this time period. An appraisal in 2005 indicated the mural was worth $750,000 and a restoration of the mural was undertaken in 2007.

During the 1970s, the airport experienced rapid passenger traffic growth as the city of Edmonton grew, serving approximately 2 million passengers by 1980.

From the early 1980s until 1995, traffic declined. This decline was attributed to the continued usage of Edmonton City Centre Airport, in addition to a slowing economy. Edmonton City Centre did not have the facilities to accept large aircraft, and airlines used City Centre to fly short-haul flights to hubs in other cities.

Growth returned in 1995. In a municipal plebiscite in that year, 77% of voting Edmontonians voted to consolidate all scheduled jet passenger service at Edmonton International Airport.

In 1998, the airport underwent a CAD$350 million "1998–2005 Redevelopment Project". This 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 2005, the expansion project was completed. Continued passenger growth triggered planning for another expansion.

In 2008, additional parking opened as a first phase of this second major expansion. Construction on this expansion continues to date.

Growth

In 2007, the airport surpassed passenger volume estimations for 2015. (see "Future expansion" below)

Growth in destinations:

Recently added destinations include year-round service to Houston-Intercontinental, the reintroduction of seasonal winter service to Kahului-Maui, as well as the introduction of seasonal service to Orlando.

Decrease in destinations:

Since 2008, routes to Frankfurt, Hamilton, Kamloops, Salt Lake City, and Mexico City, have been cancelled.

Future expansion

A $1.1 billion expansion plan was approved in October 2007. The $1.1 billion airport expansion program will include:

  • 13 new aircraft bridges
  • New apron for aircraft parking
  • Higher efficiency flow-thru deicing capability
  • 85% increase in car parking inventory
  • Redesigned and expanded food, beverage, and retail space
  • Improved access from the city and surrounding communities
  • Common use airline facilities
  • No increase in aircraft fees

Phase One – Construction of 253,000 m2 (2,720,000 sq ft) apron expansion to accommodate the terminal expansion. (Completion-2010) Phase One also includes the implementation of "Terminal Express", a temporary hyperlink tunnel to anchor the jet bridges of Gates 62, 64, 66, 68 and 70. These bridges had to be disconnected from the current south terminal in order to accommodate construction of the new hammerhead terminal. Upon completion of the new terminal, Terminal Express will be dismantled and the bridges installed into the new terminal.

Phase Two – Construction of new terminal south of present terminal. (Completion-2010)

Phase Three – Construction of concourse linking the new terminal to the existing south terminal. (Completion-2012)

The airport was expected to handle 9 million passengers annually by 2012 and 21 million passengers annually by 2020 based on the 2006 and 2007 growth rates. Passenger numbers declined in 2009 and remained flat in 2010. The expansion will increase the number of gates by 13. Common-use gates among other improvements have allowed the airport to accommodate up to 7.5 million passengers per year if necessary using the present building, helping to accommodate potential passenger growth before the expansion is complete.

A Courtyard by Marriott hotel is under construction adjacent to the North terminal.

Edmonton International will become an Airbus A380-compatible airport. Taxiway widening and other improvements are being undertaken.

On the cargo side, EIA is planning Port Alberta, a conceptual plan to create a multi-modal cargo hub at EIA. EIA plans to leverage its proximity to shipping and intermodal facilities in Prince Rupert and Chicago, as well as Edmonton's location on the CN rail line. Port Alberta will feature common space for the easy handling of three types of cargo – air, rail, and ground freight.

Passenger amenities

There are several passenger amenities available and these include:

  • Indoor observation deck featuring lounge chairs and workstations (publicly accessible)
  • Self-serve check-in available
  • Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge
  • US Quick Connect & United States Preclearance
  • Chapel, KidsWorld play area, arcade, and medical clinic
  • 16 restaurants
  • 13 shops
  • Free use of baggage carts
  • Full foreign exchange services
  • Baggage day-storage services
  • Wireless Internet (free)
US Quick Connect

Passengers from domestic flights connecting in Edmonton to a US destination use EIA's Quick Connect, which relieves passengers from having to claim and recheck baggage during the connection, and the passenger remains post-security the entire trip.

Airlines and destinations

Note: denotes charter operators and their destinations

Other operations

The following airlines operate out of private facilities:

Cargo
Awards
2010 awards

Routes Americas

  • Airport Marketing Award – First Place Overall
  • Airport Marketing Award – First Place North America

Air Transport Research Society

  • Most Efficient Airport in Canada – 15 million passengers or less category.
2009 awards

Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) Awards:

  • First Place: Marketing Campaign (Language of Speed)
  • First Place: Brochures (EIA Airport Guide)
  • First Place: Print Advertising, Black and White (Language of Speed)
  • First Place: Video and Film (A Tale of Two Passengers)
  • Second Place: Annual Report (2008 Annual Report: we'll move you)
  • Second Place: Creative Innovations: Technology (Air Service USB Key)
  • Third Place: Customer Service Initiatives (US Quick Connect)

In 2009, EIA was also recognized as one of Alberta's 50 Best Employers

2008 awards

Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) Excellence in Marketing and Communications:

  • The Peggy G. Hereford Overall Award for Excellence
  • First Place: 2007 Annual Report, A New Day
  • First Place: YEG YES Marketing Campaign
  • First Place: YEG YES – Print Advertising (colour)
  • First Place: flyeia.com website
  • Third Place: Press Kit
Past awards
  • White Cane Award
  • Percy Wickman Accessibility Award – 2004

Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) Excellence in Concession Programs:

  • Richard A. Griesbach Award of Excellence – 2005
Air traffic control

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 (including Calgary) and most of northern Canada, including the high Arctic.

Controversy

In March 2010, the airport launched a campaign aimed at "repatriating" travelers who drive to the southern Alberta city of Calgary to catch their flights, rather than using Edmonton International. The campaign, poorly received in Calgary, uses television and radio ads featuring "addicts" recovering from their "Calgary habit", and advises Edmontonians that, "When you head south, so does your air service".

The airport hopes the campaign will help reduce the estimated 750,000 Edmontonions who drive to Calgary's larger airport, and therefore support more air service at Edmonton.

In Edmonton, citizens and businesses are upset that Calgary has more flights, despite the populations of the two centres being nearly equal. Calgary's larger airport is attributed to active hubbing by airlines like Air Canada and its Star Alliance partners, and WestJet.

Operating conditions
Weather

Edmonton International Airport enjoys ideal flying conditions year-round. 99% of the year is fog-free, and in the last ten years, the runways have been closed for a total of 3 hours (due to heavy snow conditions). An on-site 24 hour meteorological service provides weather observation and information to pilots, flight service station staff, air traffic controllers, and the general public.

Summer highs can reach 35.3 °C (95.5 °F), while winter lows can reach −48.3 °C (−54.9 °F), creating one of the widest temperature swings of a major airport in Canada. Humidity however, is typically low in all seasons.

Size

Edmonton International Airport is the second largest airport in Canada as measured by land mass, comprising an area of over 7,000 acres (28 km2).

Elevation

2,373 ft (723 m) above sea level.

Other

EIA has a wide catchment range encompassing Central and Northern Alberta, northern British Columbia, and Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Total catchment area is 1.8 million residents.

Edmonton International Airport is located within the Edmonton Capital Region, close to the towns of Devon and Beaumont, the city of Leduc, and adjacent to the Nisku industrial park. It is immediately west of the Queen Elizabeth II Highway, south of Highway 19, and 1.6 km (0.99 mi) north of Highway 39. Within this immediate radius of the terminal there are many full-service hotels and offsite parking lots complete with terminal shuttle service to offer a full range of services to the traveling public.

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