Air Canada has four hubs and all are located within the country. They are Toronto Pearson International Airport, Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport. Due to the large geographic area of the country, air transportation is the primary mode of travel for the Canadian population. Canada’s population growth rate was the highest amongst the G8 countries between 2006 and 2011 at 5.3%. Along with that, the Canadian economy has been growing at a steady pace since the 2008 financial crisis. In 2012, air passenger traffic in Canada increased by 4.8% which was the third consecutive annual increase since the 2008 financial crisis. In terms of aircraft movements, the four hubs aforementioned have the highest number of aircraft movements in the country in 2013, totaling 94,810 aircraft movements in December 2013 alone which is 63% of the total aircraft movements among 41 Canadian airports that have air traffic control towers.
For decades, all Canadian airports were managed directly by the federal aviation regulatory authority Transport Canada. In the early 1990s, the federal government analyzed options to reduce financial subsidies in the management of public airports. In 1994, Transport Canada instituted the National Airports Policy, whereby it privatized airport operations to newly formed airport authorities that are non-profit capital corporations. All four of Air Canada’s hubs were identified by the National Airports Policy. Since the 1990s, the airport hubs have spent billions of dollars in improving infrastructure to better accommodate demand. Demand for the four large airports is generated from Canada’s economy being a major trading nation with large abundance of natural resources. This case study elaborates on how the four airports expanded their capacities to accommodate the country’s economic growth.
Toronto Pearson International Airport (IATA code YYZ)
YYZ is Canada’s largest airport in terms of passenger traffic and aircraft movement. In 2012, YYZ handled over 34 million passengers and over 435,000 aircraft movements. It is the largest out of the four Air Canada hubs. Not only does the airport serve the city of Toronto, but it also serves the over 8 million people that reside in the dense urban areas surrounding Toronto informally called the Golden Horseshoe. The airport had a significant growth in passenger traffic at 2.5% per year between 1996 and 2006. The airport has five runways and is capable of handling 520,000 to 610,000 flights (arriving and departing) per year. The airport has two terminals that are capable of handling 38 to 40 million annual passengers at maximum capacity combined. The airport authority built a medium-sized terminal that has 4 million annual passengers capacity to operate as an overflow facility when required.
YYZ’s airport authority projects demand to be 50 million passengers and 637,000 aircraft movements per year by 2020...