QUÉBEC CITY, Sept. 8, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - The Québec City Jean-Lesage International Airport (YQB) celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. Building on its 75-year history of serving the people of greater Québec City, YQB has great things in store, including the ongoing YQB 2018 expansion project and the recently announced plans for a U.S. preclearance center.
"We're very proud to be celebrating our 75th anniversary. The airport has changed dramatically over the years to become a driver of economic growth in our vibrant, expanding region, as well as a hub for the thousands of passengers we accommodate every year," said Aéroport de Québec inc. president and CEO (AQi) Gaëtan Gagné.
Located in L'Ancienne-Lorrette, the site first went into operation as a Canadian military airfield during World War II. The first military flight was on September 11, 1941—the airport's official birthday. It was during this period that the first hangars were built for the Royal Canadian Air Force and the No. 8 Air Observer School. But it wasn't until the mid-1950s—December 17, 1957 to be exact—that Québec's first airport officially opened its doors.
The 2000s: A Turning Point
In 2000, then-owner Transport Canada transferred responsibility for the airport's management, operation, and development to Aéroport de Québec inc. (AQi), a group of affiliates from the socioeconomic sphere that understood that the region's economic vitality depended on the expansion of airport operations in Québec City.
Since then AQi's mission has been to offer high quality, efficient, secure facilities and services to handle increasing air traffic and strengthen the airport's position as a leading driver of economic development in the Greater Québec City region.
With profits consistently reinvested to upgrade facilities and deliver top-notch service to passengers, the airport has enjoyed unprecedented growth, going from 605,000 passengers in 2001 to 1.6 million in 2015.
"Our growth can be attributed in part to two important decisions: making passengers our No. 1 priority and investing in the facilities needed to meet the ever-growing demand for airport services," explained Gagné.
A Future Shaped by Growth
The YQB 2018 project, which will allow the Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport to accommodate two million passengers by 2020 and continue to grow in the years to follow, broke ground in spring 2015.
YQB 2018 includes some 20 construction projects and implementation of state-of-the-art airport technology. It will result in a new and improved airport able to meet increasing demand.
Another one for the history books: During a visit to Washington on March 10, 2016, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama announced the establishment of a U.S. preclearance center at the Québec City airport. The move will streamline connections to U.S. airports and open up access to hundreds of U.S. airports without customs services onsite.
"We are very proud of this achievement, which will change the face of air travel in Québec City and allow YQB to strengthen its role as an economic driver for the greater Québec City area. This project would not have been possible without the community's overwhelming support," noted AQi Board of Directors Chairman André Fortin.
About Aéroport de Québec Inc. (AQi)
AQi is the privately held company that has been responsible for the management, operation, maintenance, and development of YQB since November 1, 2000. Some dozen airlines offer multiple routes to destinations in North America, Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Europe, with daily service to major hubs in northeastern North America.
For more milestones in YQB's history: https://www.aeroportdeQuébec.com/en/about/company/history
SOURCE Aéroport de Québec
Renseignements: Mathieu Claise, Communications and Public Relations Manager, Aéroport de Québec inc., Tel.: 418-640-2700, ext. 2625