Canada's Airports

Brief History


Under the NAP of 1994, all airports in national, provincial and territorial capitals, as well as all those with more than 200,000 passengers a year, were designated National Airports System (NAS) airports. The federal government’s plans were to retain ownership of these airports, but to transfer the management and upkeep responsibilities to local entities.

By 2003, all 26 NAS airports had been transferred from federal to local responsibility. With this transfer came all financial responsibility for not only operating the airport, but also for any capital improvements required to maintain or expand the airport’s infrastructure. Canada's airports have assumed responsibility for ensuring that these vital gateways for trade and commerce are prepared for generations to come, and have committed to more than $14 billion in infrastructure improvements to make this goal a reality.

Under long-term leases with the federal government, airports managed by airport authorities are governed by boards of non-elected representatives nominated by local, provincial/territorial and federal governments, as well as by local business groups and other stakeholders.

NAS airports operate in accordance with principles of governance and public accountability enshrined in each airport’s lease. These principles enshrine the airports’ mandates, detail their board composition, require forums for community consultation, and direct transparency mechanisms for the reporting of financial and operating information to the public.

NAS Airports

Calgary International Airport
Charlottetown Airport
Edmonton International Airport
Greater Fredericton Airport
Gander International Airport
Halifax-Robert L. Stanfield International Airport
Iqaluit Airport
Kelowna International Airport
London International Airport
Greater Moncton International Airport
(Montréal) Mirabel International Airport
Montréal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
Ottawa International Airport
Prince George International Airport
(Québec City) Jean Lesage International Airport
Regina International Airport
St. John’s International Airport
Saint John Airport
Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport
Thunder Bay International Airport
(Toronto) Lester B. Pearson International Airport
Vancouver International Airport
Victoria International Airport
Whitehorse International Airport
Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport
Yellowknife International Airport

Non-NAS Airports: Locally and Provincially Owned and Operated

Ownership and operation of non-NAS airports was offered to local authorities. Many of these also are locally based airport authorities/commissions, while other airports are owned and managed directly by local municipalities.

Finally, Canada has several groups of airports that are owned and operated by provincial and territorial governments. This group of airports, which primarily serve remote or Arctic locations, include airports operated by the provinces of Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan and the territorial governments of the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

As part of the devolution of smaller airports to local authorities, the federal government pledged an Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) to help with essential, safety-related infrastructure projects for these airports, all of which handled fewer than 200,000 passengers a year.

What all of Canada’s airports share in common is a dedication to meeting the interests of the communities they serve today and well into the future.