Montreal Airport Guide
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Your Complete Guide to Montreal Airport

Montreal Airport is located approximately 20km, or 12 miles from downtown, and is considered as a large Canadian airport. It is the third busiest in the country, with just over thirteen million passengers per annum, and is rated as the fourth busiest for aircraft movements. It is also a hub and headquarter location for Air Canada, the country’s largest airline carrier. The official name is the Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, and its IATA code is listed as YUL. The ICAO code is CYUL. Montreal-Trudeau Airport is modern with all the facilities required by departing and arriving passengers, and has various forms of ground transport services as well.

The city of Montreal, and its two main airports known as the Montreal-Trudeau and the Montreal-Mirabel, are found in the Canadian province of Quebec, which is to the east of Ontario and to the west of Maine (U.S.) and New Brunswick. Directly south of Quebec are the U.S. states of Vermont, New York and New Hampshire. The cities nearby to Montreal include Sherbrooke, Drummondville, Trois-Rivières and Quebec City to the east, and Ottawa to the west. The large city of Toronto is to the south-west of Montreal. Montreal-Trudeau Airport is the main air gateway for the city, and is found in the area of Dorval. For this reason, its former name was the Montreal-Dorval . In 2004, the airport was renamed after the former Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Elliott. The airport is situated nearby to LaSalle, Lachine, Saint-Laurent and Pointe-Claire. A number of main roads provide access to the airport, including the Highway 20 (Autoroute du Souvenir), the Highway 520 (Autoroute Côte-de-Liesse) and the Highway 13 (Autoroute Chomedey).

Passengers driving to Montreal Airport will find plenty of parking options available, including two economy car parks and a large parking garage that has short-term and medium-term parking areas. Valet parking can be arranged at the garage as well, and there are dedicated spaces for passengers with disabilities. Passengers who prefer to travel by public transport can take one of several public buses, that are operated by STM. One of the most popular buses is the 747 Montreal-Trudeau/Downtown route, that runs frequently throughout the day. Buses also travel to the airport from Mont-Tremblant (by Skyport), and regional buses are available from Ottawa/Gatineau and other surrounding cities. Taxis can be taken to and from the airport at all hours of the day, and from any nearby destination. Montreal Airport currently has no train station, but in the future, an express rail shuttle service is planned. The trains will run from downtown Montreal to the airport in just twenty minutes. The new rail link, provided that the project’s funds can be raised, should be completed between 2013 and 2015. For now, passengers can take trains from the Montreal Central Station to the Dorval Station, and then a free shuttle bus to the terminals. The Dorval Station is just two kilometres from the airport grounds.

The Montreal-Dorval Airport dates back to the 1940’s, when it was built to replace the older Saint-Hubert Airport that was used since 1927. It was a success, and was handling more than a million passengers by the mid-1950’s. At this time, it was the busiest destination in Canada, and soon thereafter became the largest gateway for Canada for all European air traffic. By 1961 the airport handled over two million passengers. The Montreal-Dorval International now needed major expansion works, due to the increase in passengers, however, a new airport was built instead. The Montreal-Mirabel opened for operation in 1975, in time for the Montreal Summer Olympics, with two runways and a modern terminal building. This airport now handled all international fights in and out of the city, and its expansion was planned in anticipation of taking over all of Dorval’s domestic and transborder flights. The Montreal-Mirabel Airport was intended to have six runways and six terminal buildings, but various events negatively impacted the aviation industry, and the development never came to pass.

In the 1980’s authorities tried to implement an integrated airport system, but many challenges were faced. Montreal-Dorval Airport was also suffering from many years of under-investment. In the mid-1990’s, an investment program for the modernization and expansion of Montreal-Dorval International was announced, and in 1997, the management company (ADM) changed its international passenger flight assignment policy, allowing the airline companies to operate from the airport of their choice. Dorval proved more popular, and left Mirabel with only international charter flights. Since that Montreal-Dorval was now handling the vast majority of international flights, a new international arrivals hall, a new customs hall and new baggage claim facilities for international passengers were completed by 2006. The expansion project also included new transborder and international jetties. The parking garage was expanded as well, and various renovations were made to the domestic areas of the terminal. This major expansion project enabled the Montreal Airport to increase its capacity from only seven million passengers per annum to fifteen million per annum.

In addition to the above-mentioned improvements, in 2009 the airport opened its new hotel, referred to as the Marriott Hotel, with 279 first-class rooms, an indoor swimming pool, a well-equipped fitness centre and a business centre with a variety of meeting rooms. Future plans are in place for further expansion as well. A two-phase expansion of the international terminal was announced in 2011, and will increase the total number of contact gates to seventeen. Another two remote stands will be added as well. The Montreal-Trudeau International Airport is also now equipped to handle the larger Airbus A380 aircraft, and the first of its kind landed at the airport from Paris in November 2007 with five hundred passengers on board. Air France now offers a daily A380 service between Paris and Montreal-Trudeau.

Today, Trudeau Airport has a terminal building that is divided into three concourses. Concourse A is used primarily for domestic flights, and has 26 gates. The main airline carriers at this terminal are Air Canada, WestJet, First Air, Bearskin, Porter Airlines, Provincial Airlines and Air Inuit, flying to the Canadian destinations of Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Edmonton, Halifax, La Grande, Moncton and others. The air route between Montreal and Toronto is considered as the fourteenth busiest in the world. Domestic passengers total between 4.5 and 5.5 million every year. Concourse B is Montreal-Trudeau Airport’s international concourse, and has 13 gates. International carriers take passengers to Barcelona, Madrid and Malaga in Spain, Paris, Lyon, Nice and Bordeaux in France, Frankfurt and Munich in Germany, Cancun and Mexico City in Mexico, London in the United Kingdom, Rome and Venice in Italy, Zurich in Switzerland, Algiers in Algeria and Brussels in Belgium. A wide range of other international destinations are available as well. The important international carriers at Montreal Airport include Air Canada, Air Transat, KLM, Air Algerie, Sunwing Airlines, Cubana, British Airways, CanJet and Lufthansa. The airport is the second busiest international gateway in the country, handling around five million international passengers per annum.

Concourse B is dedicated to flights heading for the United States, and has 18 gates. Transborder flights travel to Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, San Francisco and Washington, just to name a few, and the airline companies involved include American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Air Canada, United Airlines, US Airways and WestJet. Montreal-Trudeau Airport is one of eight in Canada with U.S border preclearance facilities. The terminals of the airport are equipped with many shops and restaurants, banking services, ATMs, currency exchange services, lost and found offices and information counters, and are completely accessible to disabled passengers. There are also several car hire companies available, with counters on the ground floor of the parking garage.

Passengers can contact Montreal Airport for further information at 514-394-7377 or 1-800-465-12-13. The 800 number is a toll-free line for callers from anywhere in Canada, Vermont and New York.