Halifax International Airport

Halifax/Robert L. Stanfield International Airport, or Halifax Stanfield International Airport (IATA: YHZ, ICAO: CYHZ) is an airport in Enfield, Nova Scotia and in Halifax Regional Municipality, Canada. It serves Halifax and mainland Nova Scotia as well as adjacent areas in the neighbouring Maritime provinces.

The airport, owned by Transport Canada since it was constructed, and operated since 2000 by the Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA), forms part of the National Airports System. The airport hosts the headquarters of Chorus Aviation operating under the Brand Name of Jazz and was formerly home to CanJet which is now headquartered in Montreal Quebec.

It is the 7th busiest airport in Canada by passenger traffic. In 2010, the airport handled a total of 3,508,153 passengers and 87,015 aircraft movements.


An airfield in West End, Halifax on the Halifax Peninsula known as Chebucto Field operated as the city's main airport until 1942, when it closed. RCAF Station Shearwater functioned as Halifax's primary airport until June 1960, when the current airport was opened. The Kelly Lake site was selected in order to reduce the number of days per year fog would affect airport operation. There is a continuing myth that the tree cutting that was required to construct the airport altered the fog patterns, however a weather analysis of the 1960-2008 period would show that this is, indeed, an "urban" myth. The origin of the myth may come from commuters, who may experience very localized fog near the airport during their morning drive along Highway 102.

Operation Yellow Ribbon

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks the airport was part of Operation Yellow Ribbon, as it took 40 flights—more flights than any other Canadian airport involved in the operation—carrying about 7,300 passengers—more passengers than any other Canadian airport involved in the operation other than Vancouver, which registered 8,500. Much of this was because flights that were coming from Europe were told to avoid the major airports in Central Canada, like Toronto Pearson, Montréal-Dorval, and Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport.

To honour the people of Gander and Halifax for their support during the operation, Lufthansa named a new Airbus A340-300 "Gander-Halifax" on May 16, 2002. That airplane is listed with the registration D-AIFC, and is the first aircraft of the whole fleet with a city name outside of Germany.


In 2005 the main passenger terminal was renamed in honour of Robert Stanfield, the former Premier of Nova Scotia and federal Leader of the Official Opposition, with a plaque placed on the public observation floor. On Friday February 9, 2007 Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrived at the airport and officially announced the renaming of the entire facility from 'Halifax International Airport' to 'Halifax Robert L. Stanfield International Airport' in a further honour to Mr. Stanfield; at that time the terminal name was dropped and reverted to its original status.


Halifax Airport fared well in the 2005 AETRA survey for passenger satisfaction, produced by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airports Council International. The airport was ranked the best airport in the Americas for the second year in a row, as well as the best airport in the less than 5 million passengers a year category for the third year in a row (worldwide), and best domestic service for the second year in a row.

In March 2007, Halifax Airport earned two first-place finishes in the 2006 Airports Council International (ACI) Service Quality Awards held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. For the fourth consecutive year, it ranked first in overall passenger satisfaction for airports worldwide with under five million passengers. In addition, the airport ranked first in the Americas in the new category of Airport People Awards, and second in the best domestic airport worldwide category.

In early 2010, Halifax Stanfield was rated by passengers as the Best Airport in the World in its class (under 5 million) for the seventh year in a row.

Terminal and renovations

The airport terminal building at the airport was originally opened in September, 1960. It currently serves over 3.5 million passengers per year and growing. The growth experienced in the decades since the airport's construction necessitated constant renovations, and there is often construction occurring there.

Since 1998, the airport has been undergoing an extensive renovation program. The next phase of this program was announced in September 2004. The major multi-year expansion project will include a rehabilitation of the runways and taxiways, new terminal expansions, new parking lots (including an enclosed garage that opened in the spring of 2009), a new hotel, and internal beautifications including an observation tower. The project will cost over $250 million. The airport has completed an observation tower along with work on aesthetic improvements to the terminals, with work on the parking lot/garage, terminal expansion and runway rehabilitation scheduled for completion in 2010.

In December 2004, U.S. Customs and Border Protection approved Halifax Airport for United States border preclearance. It took effect in late 2006. HIAA was previously the busiest airport in Canada without U.S. Customs preclearance.

On September 12, 2007 the airport authority announced the construction of a 2,300 space, 5-storey parking garage, which was completed on March 12, 2009. The airport authority also announced an on-site 175-room Sheraton hotel, which has since been postponed due to financial considerations.

The current terminal contains a total of 31 gate positions, with 12 using airbridges (gates 12, 14-16, 18, 20, 22-24, and 26-28). The remaining gates are ground loading positions. Gates 22-24, and 26-28 are swing gates which can service domestic flights and then be converted to receive incoming international flights via a glassed-in secure corridor from the holdroom for international flight operations. Gates 2(a-e) to 9 are ground loading positions dedicated to domestic regional operations (mainly Air Canada Express). Gates 34 to 46 are ground loading gate positions for US flights operating regional jets. An August 2010 press release indicated that part of the Airport's 10 year capital improvement program would see the expansion of the Domestic/International Check-in area and expansion of the Terminal Building at the north end in anticipation of additional flights from EU nations. As of 2011, the airport also has plans to lengthen its runways.


The airport is served by several Fixed Base Operators (FBOs), which handle fueling, ground handling, hangarage, catering, etc. They include Esso Avitat, Shell AeroCentre, and Gateway Facilities.

Aerotech Business Park

The airport is located adjacent to the Aerotech Business Park, a municipally run business park originally catering towards aviation companies. The zoning has since been changed to allow for other types of companies to locate there. The two largest tenants are Pratt & Whitney Canada and Northrop Grumman.

Alternate space shuttle landing site

Halifax Airport was one of the handful of sites along eastern North America where the Space Shuttle could have landed if something went wrong during liftoff.

Other facilities

The airport hosts the headquarters of Jazz Aviation.

Airlines and destinations

Note: denotes charter operators and their destinations

Other operations

The following companies operate out of private facilities at the airport:


Halifax is served by the following cargo airlines:

  • ABX Air
  • Air Canada Cargo
  • Asiana Cargo
  • Cargojet Airways
  • DHL
  • FedEx Express operated by Morningstar Air Express
  • Icelandair Cargo
  • Purolator Courier operated by Kelowna Flightcraft Air Charter
  • Prince Edward Air
  • Skylink Express
  • TNT Airways
Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum

The nearby Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum includes both military and civil aviation exhibits.

Incidents and accidents
  • On the night of September 2, 1998 Swissair Flight 111, a scheduled flight from New York City to Geneva, declared a pan-pan after the crew noticed smoke in the cockpit. The flight diverted to Halifax but crashed into the sea at the entrance of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia, about 60 km from the airport. All 229 passengers and crew perished.
  • On October 14, 2004 MK Airlines Flight 1602, a Boeing 747-200F, crashed during takeoff from runway 23. All seven crew members died.

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated 100 media
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com