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A trajectory marked by constant expansion

In the beginning

Québec City's airport adventure first begins in 1929, just two years after Charles Lindbergh's historic flight from New York to Paris. The city's first airport hangars are built in Sainte-Foy, the same location where the Centre hospitalier de l’Université Laval (CHUL) now stands. It isn't until the start of World War II that a real airfield is built in Ancienne-Lorette, where the first hangars are constructed for the Royal Canadian Air Force and the 8th Observer School. It is on this site that the first military flight registered in Québec takes place on September 11, 1941.

First airport hangars erected in Sainte-Foy in 1937

1943-1960: Growing as fast as the
fascinating world of aviation

From 1943, Québec City's airport begins developing and taking on a more commercial aspect. The airport belongs to the National Defence until it is taken over by the Ministry of Transport. Airport installations are then upgraded by the addition of runways lights, taxiways, and approaches. Canadian Pacific Airlines is the first airline to offer flights between Montreal, Québec City, Mont-Joli, and Sept-Îles. In the mid-1950s, two other airlines begin offering their service: Trans-Canada Air Lines and Quebecair, and on December 17, 1957, the first terminal becomes operational. In support of this new vocation, the airport undergoes more upgrades: instrument landing system, high intensity approach lighting, airport radar and airway surveillance system for traffic control are installed, and ramps and loading areas follow… Québec City´s airport now fully embraces the modern era of aviation.

The three runways and airport facilities in L’Ancienne-Lorette in 1943

1960-1980: Expansion and modernization

1964 marks a turning point in the history of commercial aviation in Québec City and elsewhere in the world with the introduction of the jet aircraft service. Faced with the growing demand of customers, the Ministry of Transportation builds a new terminal in Québec City in 1973. The extension of runway 06-24 follows, with work carried out in two phases; one in 1974 when the runway reaches 7,500 feet, and the second in 1979, reaching a total runway length of 9,000 feet.

Aerial view of the YQB runways in 1960

1980-2000: Focus on expansion

Expansion and growth accurately depicts the 1980s. in 1981, a new access road is built and aprons are upgraded, followed by the expansion of infrastructures from 1982 to 1984, including the terminal itself, car parking areas and hardstands for aircraft… The Québec City airport takes on a new dimension and in 1993 becomes Jean Lesage International Airport. With the inauguration of a new international zone at the airport in 1996, the airport's international character is confirmed once again. The following year, a new control tower and the NAV Canada Aviation Complex are unveiled.

The control tower and air terminal in 1980

2000-2015: a new administration
and an ambitious plan for expansion

In 2000, Transport Canada, until then the owner of the entire facility, transfers the airport's management, operations and development to Aéroport de Québec inc., a local group of affiliates from the socioeconomic community wanting to keep airport operations in Québec City and maintain the economic vitality of the provincial capital. In the years that follow, the new management sets a goal of providing Québec City and the eastern part of the province with infrastructure that meets the expectations and needs of the different socioeconomic and political stakeholders of the region. A major modernization project is launched in 2006, paving the way for Québec City Jean Lesage Airport as it enters a new era, and once completed, the new airport terminal is inaugurated in 2008.

A multi-level parking garage added in 2014 to the updated facilities

2016: Unprecedented investments

The largest expansion and redevelopment project in the airport's history is now underway. Some $277 million will be invested in the expansion to support the growth of the terminal. The YQB 2018 is a major undertaking of more than a dozen construction projects and includes the implementation of state-of-the-art technology. The objectives of the project include doubling the terminal area to offer more services and provide a more enjoyable experience for travellers. In terms of technology, much effort is going into simplifying procedures and improving the passenger experience: self-serve customs area, automated baggage drop-off, charging stations for phones and tablets, dynamic communication and signage systems... Technological possibilities are endless and the airport wants its customers to enjoy the full benefits it can offer. More space, more parking spots, more services... So many more ways to meet the objective set out by Aéroport de Québec inc.: to serve two million passengers a year by 2020.