Calgary International Airport has come a long way since its inception in 1914. Situated in Bowness, 10 kilometres from the city, the original airfield was comprised of a grass airstrip and a ramshackle hut, which served as both hangar and terminal building.
The Calgary Municipal Airport at Refrew was established in 1928. Several of the hangars still exist and are in use today, even though the area has been converted to a residential neighbourhood. In 1938, the facility moved to its present location in Calgary's northeast and was christened McCall Field, in honour of Captain Fred McCall, a World War I flying ace and one of Calgary's pioneer aviators.
In 1940, the airport was taken over by the Federal Department of Transport to serve the war effort and was not returned to its original owner, the City of Calgary, until 1949. During this time, the federal government expanded the airport to include four runways and five wartime hangers.
Although the airport had expanded during the war effort, it desperately needed a new terminal to meet the city's growing needs. In 1956, Canada's most modern air terminal opened in the southwest corner of the airport. But sadly, when the jet age thundered in five years later, the new terminal became obsolete and the City of Calgary was forced to return to the drawing board.
As resources were not forthcoming to upgrade the facility, in 1966 the City of Calgary sold the airport to Transport Canada for two million dollars, along with a commitment to spearhead the airport's ascension into the jet age. It was about this time that the facility became known as Calgary International Airport.
True to their word, Transport Canada launched an ambitious program of land acquisition and airfield construction and in November of 1977 the terminal building that we see today opened, and with it came the modern age of aviation.
On July 1, 1992, The Calgary Airport Authority assumed responsibilities for the operation and expansion of the airport. Today, Calgary International Airport is a world class facility committed to creating a positive, engaging experience for passengers and to setting the standard for the industry.
The terminal building boasts over 135 shops, restaurants and services, as well as a 296 room four star Delta Hotel and a space-themed visitor attraction - Spaceport. Over 15,000 people are part of the airport community and The Calgary Airport Authority is a major contributor to the prosperity of the Calgary region with a total GDP impact of $6 billion.
In 2008, Calgary International Airport reached new heights with passenger volume increasing 2.0 per cent to 12.5 million passengers annually, making YYC the fourth busiest airport in Canada. There is no doubt that it has become Alberta's premier international gateway and the destination of choice for passengers, airlines and cargo operations.
Over $1 billion has been invested since 1992 to renovate and expand airport infrastructure and a further $3 billion investment is currently forecast over the next 10 years to meet the needs of the trading region. A new International Terminal Building, new parking structures and a 14,000 foot parallel runway are just some of the initiatives in place that will ensure that Calgary International Airport remains a premier global gateway capable of accommodating a significant increase in passengers and also new and larger aircrafts of the future.