MIAMI – Calgary International Airport (YYC) has been operational since 1914 and seen incredible growth since that time. The field is situated 10 kilometers northeast of the city was originally a grass strip and a hut serving as a hangar and terminal building.

Today, the airport handles 18 million passengers per year through the use of four runways and two terminal buildings.

Calgary International Airport. Photo: Wiki Commons.

Comments from The Calgary Airport Authority

Calgary Airport continues to see tremendous success year after year. Rob Palmer, Vice President Finance, Strategy & Chief Financial Officer, The Calgary Airport Authority said:

“We’re proud to have achieved another record year, connecting tourists to legendary attractions, locals to that long saved for vacation, reunion or getaway, business travelers to deal-making meetings and cargo to buyers across the globe.

“Our focus remains on ensuring every guest has a positive experience at YYC and in supporting our airline partners.”

YYC Signage inside Calgary Airport. | Photo: © (User) Daniel via Wikipedia Commons Images

History of YYC

After its inception in 1914, Calgary’s Airport was taken over by the Federal Department of Transport in 1940 to serve the war effort and was expanded to include four runways and five wartime hangars.

In 1949, the airport ownership was returned to the City of Calgary who added a brand-new modern terminal in the southwest corner of the airport in 1956. Though just five years later it needed to be replaced as the jet age took hold of the industry.

On July 1, 1992, The Calgary Airport Authority took responsibility for the operation and expansion of the airport, creating a world-class facility committed to creating a positive, engaging experience for passengers and create a standard for the industry.

Since 1992, US$4bn has been invested to renovate and expand airport infrastructure including the new International Terminal and a 14,000-foot parallel runway, which opened in 2014 and is the longest in Canada.

In October 2016, YYC opened the doors to its largest infrastructure project to date: the new International Terminal. YYC has 185 shops, restaurants, and services, eight children’s play areas as well as two hotels. The airport now supports 50,000 jobs and is a major contributor to the prosperity of the Calgary region with a total GDP impact of $8 billion.

International Terminal Check-In Area at YYC. | Photo: © Calgary International Airport

Must-Visits at YYC

Sometimes, relaxing with a nice meal before or after a flight is the perfect way to clear the stress that sometimes comes with a long day of travel. YYC has a few award-winning eateries to try both on departure and arrival at the airport.

Bistro on the Bow is located on the landside of the airport in the International Arrivals Hall. This restaurant is the perfect place to re-unite with family and friends or grab takeout before heading into the city or out to the Rocky Mountains.

The menu features domestic and internationally inspired meals, a full selection of cocktails, and locally crafted beer. The restaurant was named sixth on USA Today’s Best Airport Sitdown Dining.

The Vin Room, in the airside section of the International Departures Hall features 80 varieties of wine by the glass, the largest selection at any airport around the world. The Vin Room has an extensive menu of inspired dishes from fresh, local ingredients. They are the proud winners of multiple awards, including:

  • Airport Council International’s Best New Local Concept in North America – 2018
  • Vancouver International Wine Awards- Best Wine List, Gold Awards 2018, 2019, 2020
  • Culinaire Magazine- Alberta’s Finest Drinks List.  Platinum Award, 2018, 2019, 2020
  • Moodie Davitt Global Food and Beverage Awards- Best Airport Wine Bar 2019

The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck is a full-service restaurant and bar featuring Wolfgang’s distinctly unique food and beverage with a global comfort flair. This restaurant is located in the U.S. departures hall and boasts a welcoming atmosphere to escape from the bustling airport terminal.

Vin Room at Calgary International Airport. | Photo: © Calgary International Airport

Notable Routes

YYC provides 38 non-stop domestic destinations in addition to its growing U.S. and international offerings. In 2019, the airport added two new U.S. and two new European routes bringing the total to 88 non-stop destinations across Canada and the globe. YYC handled 4,305 cargo landings in 2019, a 6.6 percent increase from the previous year.

“Last year’s increased traffic can be credited in part due to the success of WestJet’s [787-9] Dreamliner routes to markets in Europe,” YYC said in a press release. The airline now flies direct to London Gatwick (LGW), Paris and Dublin from YYC with plans to add Rome.

Calgary International Airport was also proud to be one of the first airports in Canada to welcome the Canadian-designed and fuel-efficient Airbus A220 as Air Canada introduced service from Montreal to Calgary last winter.

Air Canada Airbus A220-300 pushing back. | Photo: © Alvin Man (IG: @onemoreweektogo)

Fast Facts

  • Passenger Volume | 18 Million (2019)
  • Cargo Landings | 4,305 (2019)
  • Total Land Area | 20.82km2/2,116 Acres
  • Parking Levels | 7 with 4,686 Long Term, 1,599 Economy, 484 Short Term
  • Check-In Positions | Domestic: 42 Counters, 54 Kiosks. International: 66 Counters, 99 Kiosks.
  • Passenger Boarding Bridges | 59 with 15 Ground Loading and 26 Off Gate Positions
Exterior of YYC’s International Terminal. | Photo: © Calgary International Airport

YYC Link

The YYC Link is the airport’s passenger shuttle connecting passengers quickly and comfortably between the domestic and international terminals. Each of the 20 vehicles along the four-station route can carry 10 people and allows passengers to reach D/E concourse from A concourse in just 5 minutes.

The Link takes its own dedicated route which offers views of the apron and city beyond allowing for stunning photos. YYC’s Link is also wheelchair accessible and driven by friendly customer service members who will answer any of your questions and address concerns you might have about your trip.

A YYC link vehicle on display. | Photo: © Calgary International Airport

Premium Lounges

Calgary International Airport has a series of lounges for passengers wishing to escape from the bustling terminal. In Concourse C, passengers in Business Class with Air Canada or those with applicable Star Alliance status can relax in the Maple Leaf Lounge which features snacks and beverages, WiFi and a call-free zone for some peace and quiet.

In the International Terminal, passengers can book access to the Aspire Lounge which features hot meals, showers, WiFi, charging stations, personal TVs and assorted literature. There is also an Aspire Lounge in the transborder concourse.

WestJet’s (WS) Chinook lounge is available in Concourse A. It offers food, beverages, WiFi, a fireplace, runway views, quiet areas, televisions, and children’s play areas. The lounge is open to WS business class travelers, Priority Pass holders, and those with applicable WestJet Rewards status. Other passengers can enter the lounge for a US$50 fee (US$30 for children under 11).

International Aspire Lounge. | Photo: © Calgary International Airport

Things to do in Calgary

TripAdvisor lists some of the top things to do in Calgary as visiting the Calgary Tower, the Calgary Zoo and the Glenbow Museum. Every year in July, the city is host to the famous Calgary Stampede, the world’s largest outdoor rodeo.

Those inclined to exploration can take the scenic drive to Banff National Park, home to some spectacular alpine skiing and hiking trails in the respective seasons.

In addition, from YYC, travelers can also fly up to Jasper National Park, which takes only 75-minutes to reach. The park is home to stunning Rocky Mountain scenery.

Lake Agnes in Banff National Park. | Photo: Florian Fuchs via Wikipedia Commons Images

Calgary Airport: Two Thumbs-Up

Calgary International is a world-class airport that has shown immense improvement with recent renovations. There is wonderful dining throughout the airport; its location, close to the city, provides travelers with easy access to their vacation spots or their business meetings.

The new bright and modern international terminal is worth spending some time in. Alberta is definitely a picturesque place to put on your map for future vacations.

YYC Connections Corridor. | Photo: © Calgary International Airport