Calgary Airport Guide
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Your Complete Guide to Calgary Airport

Calgary International Airport, with the official IATA code of YYC (ICAO – CYYC), is located approximately 17km, or 11 miles to the northeast of the downtown, and is a very important air-gate in Canada. It is rated as the fourth largest in the country for passenger traffic, and as the third largest in the country for number of aircraft movements. The airport of Calgary is served by a large number of airline carriers, and is a hub for Air Canada and Air Canada Express. It is also the headquarters of WestJet. Calgary Airport is often described as one of the friendliest in the world, offering its passengers a huge variety of facilities and services, and several useful options for ground transportation.

Calgary Airport came into existence in 1914, and was then was just a grass airstrip and ramshackle hut, but was nonetheless the start of one of Canada’s most important and successful airports. The facility was moved from its original location at Bowness in 1938 to its present location, and was called the McCall Field in honour of Captain Fred McCall, a Canadian aviator. From 1940 to 1949 the airport was operated by the Federal Department of Transport for war activities, and during this time was expanded to four runways and five wartime hangars. It was then returned to its original owner, the City of Calgary. Although improvements were made, it still needed a new terminal for commercial operations, and better facilities to meet the growing needs of the city. A new terminal, considered as the most modern air terminal in Canada, was completed by 1956, however, in just five years time it was once again inadequate.

No further improvements were afforded until the 1970’s, due to lack of resources of the City of Calgary. The airport was sold to Transport Canada in 1966 for two million dollars, and its new terminal was completed by November 1977. This is also the terminal we see today, and allowed to fully engage in the jet age. Since 1992, the responsibilities of managing and operating have fallen under the company of Calgary Airport Authority. The airport is today known to offer world-class facilities, with over 125 shops, restaurants and services, and the Delta Calgary, a four star hotel with 296 sound-proof rooms. It is also popular for its space-themed visitor attraction, known as Spaceport. In 1992 the airport was expanded to meet the needs of growing passenger numbers, and further improvements are planned for the future. A new International Terminal will be built with 22 gates by late 2015. Two of the gates will support the large Airbus A80 aircraft. A new runway is also currently under construction, and should be operational by 2014. The runway will be 4,300 metres in length, and 61 metres wide. It will also be the longest runway of all the airports in Canada.

The airport covers a total land area of 21.34 square kilometres, and is particularly nearby to the city areas of Beddington Heights, Vista Heights, Whitehorn, Castleridge and Martindale. It is the premier airfield of the Alberta region of Canada (north of Montana in the United States), and is accessed from the Deerfoot Trail Highway that runs through Calgary. The Airport Road NE runs to the terminal building. Calgary in Alberta is to the south of Edmonton and Red Deer, to the north of Lethbridge and to the east of Canmore and Banff. The Dinosaur Provincial Park is to the far east of the city. Calgary Airport has served over 12 million passengers every year since 2009, with the highest number of passengers recorded in 2011. The majority of passengers travel on domestic flights, while approximately 1.1 to 1.3 million are on board international flights. 2.3 to 2.5 million of passengers are on transborder flights. The airport is a major gateway for tourists, as the famous Canadian Rockies are found nearby, and several city attractions are well known, such as the Olympic Plaza, Calgary Tower, the Big Rock Brewery and the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre. Nearby attractions include Banff townsite, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and known for its outstanding skiing opportunities. Airdrie with many fantastic golf courses and the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site is nearby as well.

The airport airline companies, besides Air Canada, Air Canada Express and WestJet, include Transat, British Airways, Central Mountain Air, Air North, Compass Airlines, SkyWest Airlines, Sunwing Airlines, United Airlines, KLM, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and US Airways. These airline companies offer flights to many Canadian destinations, such as Vancouver, Toronto, Montréal, Ottawa, Kelowna, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Vancouver, Victoria, and to many U.S. destinations, including Seattle, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Dallas/Fort Worth, Minneapolis, Chicago, Houston and San Francisco. Additional destinations served include Amsterdam, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Cancun, Zurich and Tokyo.

Calgary Airport is important in terms of cargo traffic, as its location in Western Canada allows it to ship any cargo to anywhere in the world in just forty-eight hours. Fifty million people can also be reached within a day’s drive. Other attractive characteristics include the fact that it has no curfew, and is operational 24 hours a day. New cargo facilities are planned as well. Cargo Airlines at the airport include Antonoy Airlines, Cargojet Airways, Cargolux, FedEx Express and UPS Airlines.

The airport today consists of a very large terminal building that has four concourses, and three runways. The concourses are known as A, B, C and D. Gates 1-19 are found in Concourse A, and mainly domestic flights operate to and from this concourse. This terminal is currently not connected to the CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency), but is home to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge. Concourse B has Gates 20 to 29, and they are swing gates between this concourse and Concourse C. Domestic and international flights by Air Canada are handled at Concourse B. Concourse C is the location of U.S. Customs and Border Preclearance facilities, and is therefore used for the majority of U.S.-bound flights. The Servisair Rocky Mountain Lounge is found in this terminal. Gates 31 to 50 are part of Concourse D, and many international flights are handled from this concourse. It is also home to the Servisair Chinook Lounge, or the WestJet Lounge.

Further YYC facilities include tourism information booths, the Visitor Reception Centre, car hire companies, currency exchange services, full-service bank machines, many shops and restaurants, free WiFi connections, hair salons, Flippers video game arcades, a medical clinic, a chapel and luggage wrap services. The airport is adapted for use by disabled persons as well, and has three large car parking areas. There are two parkades nearby the terminal, and the Economy Parking Lot a little further away. The airport is served by public buses from the McKnight-Westwinds and Crowfoot CTrain Stations and the city centre, by the Allied Airport shuttle, courtesy hotel shuttles, long-distance Red Arrow motorcoaches and various tour buses. There are taxi, sedan and limousine services as well.

Calgary Airport information is provided by the famous White Hat volunteers who circulate the terminal building, and at various kiosks in the building as well. Online information is also considered as useful. The airport can be contacted at the following telephone numbers: 403 735 1200 / 1 877 254 7427 (toll-free).