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The Municipal Airport

The story of what has happened to many airports across Canada also serves to demonstrate the changes in the air industry. As there are more airlines offering affordable ticket prices, more airports and ground transportation in urban centres are needed to accommodate them. The recent history of the Edmonton airports is a good example of the changing times.

Edmonton has been served since the 1920s by airfields and facilities that are now part of the Edmonton City Centre Airport. In the early 1960s, with urban development around the airport, it was clear that future developments would have to be placed in another location, and the Edmonton International Airport was built south of the city.

When the International Airport was built, it was expected to accommodate 2.5 million patrons a year, but by 2003, four million passengers used it with over 90,000 flights. It is expected that there will be about 5.5 million passengers using the facilities by 2015. The result is that a new expansion of airport facilities is in progress.

With the ongoing increase in air traffic at the Edmonton airports, a referendum was held in 1995 asking if all passenger services should be located at the International Airport. The referendum showed that 77 percent of the population agreed it should be.

In the fall of 1995, the Municipal Airport was leased for 56 years to Edmonton Airports, and in June 1996, its name was changed to Edmonton City Centre Airport. Its role had changed, providing a centre for general aviation, and was used by corporate and private aircraft, training, medevac, aerospace, military, and industrial personnel.

The consolidation of passenger service at the International Airport started on 1 June 1996.

Edmonton City Centre Airport was renovated and saw an increase in air traffic from about 90 to 180 aircraft a day in 1996. By 1998, the airport accommodated 80,000 passengers and was ranked as the top general aviation airport in Canada.

Both the International Airport and the Edmonton City Centre Airport have seen continuous improvements to their facilities over the years as traffic increases.


Punch Dickens
A New Airfield – "Punch" Dickens
Punch Dickens tells how the Edmonton Municipal Airport was born, becoming the first municipally owned airfield in Canada.
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