Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is located in the city of Dorval on the island of Montreal is an international airport serving Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is managed and operated by Aeroports de Montreal (ADM), a non-profit corporation without share capital. It is the busiest airport in the province of Quebec, the third busiest airport in Canada by passenger traffic (after Toronto Pearson and Vancouver International) and fourth busiest by aircraft movements, with 10,892,778 passengers and 208,329 aircraft movements in 2005.
Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport offers non-stop flights to Africa, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, the United States, Mexico and other airports within Canada. It is the only Canadian airport that offers non-stop service to Africa and it also contains the largest duty free shop in North America.
Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is also the headquarters for several airlines: Air Canada, the country’s largest; Air Transat, Skyservice and was formerly the headquarters of the now-defunct Jetsgo. Currently, Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is completing a CAD$716 million expansion plan that enables the airport terminal to have a capacity of 15 million passengers per year.
Dorval played an important role in the development of transatlantic aviation. It was primarily chosen as an airport because of good weather and few foggy days. During WWII it was the major transit point for departures to Europe. Thousands of Allied aircraft passed through Dorval on the way to England. Women – the WACs (Women’s Air Corps) – played a major role in transiting aircraft to the war theatres by way of Dorval. At one time Dorval was the major transatlantic hub for commercial aviation and the busiest airport in Canada with airlines such as British Overseas Airways Corporation (B.O.A.C) landing at Dorval en route to New York.
At one point, Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport was the busiest airport in Canada and the third busiest in North America after Chicago’s O’Hare airport and New York’s JFK.
Montreal’s economic decline in the late 1970s and 1980s due to the election of a separatist government in the province had a significant effect on the airport’s traffic, as international flights shifted away from Dorval to Toronto Pearson in more prosperous Toronto. Ironically, the Trudeau government had recently developed Mirabel Airport north of Montreal to handle an expected growth in international traffic, and, eventually, to replace Dorval. That extra traffic never materialized, and due to its closer proximity to downtown Montreal, all scheduled air services have now returned to Dorval/Trudeau, while Mirabel has ceased passenger operations and can be considered a colossal failure.
On September 11, 2001, Dorval participated in Operation Yellow Ribbon, taking in 17 diverted flights that had been bound for the closed airspace over the United States.
Montréal-Trudeau was formerly known as Montréal-Dorval International Airport. It is located in the city of Dorval. The airport was renamed by the federal government in honor of former Canadian Prime Minister, the late Right Honorable Pierre Elliott Trudeau on January 1, 2004, the renaming having been announced in September the previous year. This move provoked opposition from some Quebecers, especially Quebec sovereignists opposed to some of the policies of the former prime minister, as well as less vocal opposition from many aviation historians and enthusiasts who recalled Trudeau’s role as an opponent of the airport. Trudeau was heavily involved in the construction of Mirabel International Airport, originally planned to replace Montréal-Dorval airport. Many Montrealers still refer to Trudeau airport as “Dorval,” or “Dorval Airport.”
In 2005, Canada and the United States signed an “open skies agreement.” When it enters into effect in 2006 or 2007, it will for the first time allow an Air Canada flight flying from Montreal to Dallas to land, pick up more passengers and continue to a third destination like Rio de Janeiro, for example. A likely effect of the agreement will be that Trudeau airport will see an increase in the number of destinations served worldwide.
On June 15, 2006, construction began on a new four-star Marriott hotel at the airport. It will be linked to the Transborder Terminal and should be completed by 2008. It will eventually contain an underground train station to connect it with downtown Montreal for quick access.
Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is undergoing a major expansion and modernization designed to increase the terminal’s capacity and substantially enhance the level of passenger service.
Launched in 2000 with a budget of $716 million, the expansion program includes the construction of several brand-new facilities, including a jetty for flights to the United States (Transborder Terminal), another for overseas flights (International Terminal) and a huge international arrivals complex for passengers arriving in Canada from the U.S. and abroad. The major part of this program is now completed and passengers are enjoying the comfort, space and user-friendliness of the new facilities. On the other hand, the on-going modernization program calls for the refurbishing of several sections of the existing terminal, including the check-in area on the departures level and the public halls on the arrivals level.
As of 2006, the International Terminal, the Transborder Terminal and the International Arrivals complex have been completed all within the budget. Starting in 2006, ADM will begin the next process of land access to upgrade road traffic to the airport, a new parking garage, the improvement of the domestic terminal and the construction of a new hotel. Each year, Trudeau airport sees an increase in the number of passengers and aircraft that use it. In 2000, 9.4 million passengers used the airport at a time when the maximum capacity was 7 million. By 2020, Montreal is expecting to see over 20 million passengers annually.
Aéroports de Montréal is financing all of these improvements itself, with no government grants.
The last round of construction improved Montreal-Trudeau so that it is one of the few airports in the world that is prepared to handle the new Airbus A380. Montreal is expecting to handle two of Air France’s A380s and an Air France Boeing 747 every day. The A380 will initially be used on North Atlantic route services from Paris to Montreal. Lufthansa will use their Airbus A380 on a North Atlantic route services from Munich to Montreal.