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Abbotsford -

Airport History

Year History
1942 The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) purchased land in 1940 to build the Abbotsford Airport. In June 1942, approval was given for the construction of an airport based on a triangular layout. Construction was completed in 1943 consisting of three runways 5,100 feet long by 200 feet wide.
RCAF Cesna Crane, Abbotsford, Nov 21 1943
Photo by Howie Carson, courtesy of the M. DesMazes collection.
1943 In September 1943, under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, the No. 24 Elementary flying Training School started operations using Cornell aircraft until February 1944. Then #5 Liberator Operational Trainng Unit was based here flying Liberator aircraft.
1946 The RCAF station at Abbotsford Airport closed in 1946 but the airport was maintained by the RCAF on a caretaker basis.
1948 In 1948, the Fraser River flooded and people from Matsqui moved to the airport barracks. Cattle and other animals were also moved onto the airport.
1952 The airport was closed from 1952 to 1958, although air carriers listed it unofficially as an alternate to Vancouver. In 1956-57 the RCAF permitted automobile drag racing on the site.
1956 During the period of December 1956 to March 1957, accommodation and facilities at the airport were used by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration for housing 3,000 Hungarian refugees.
1958 On April 1, 1958, the airport was officially transferred to the Department of Transport. Hangar No. 2 was converted into an administration and terminal building, Customs and Immigrations facilities and accommodation for air carriers. Runway 07-25 was extended by 1,900 feet to 7,000 feet in length.
1960 In 1960 the airport zoning was registered under the Aeronautics Act.
1960 A control tower began operations on a part-time basis in January 1960 to handle IFR traffic that was diverted to Abbotsford when Vancouver International Airport was closed because of fog. With the increase in traffic, the tower began full-time operation in December 1961.
1962 In 1962 the first Abbotsford Air Show was held, sponsored by the Abbotsford Rotary Club and the Abbotsford Flying Club.
1963 Runway 07-25 was extended by another 1,000 feet to 8,000 feet.
1966 In 1966 Skyway Air Services was granted permission to use the airport for a gliding school.
1969 Skyway Air Services sold their aerial forest fire fighting business to Conair Aviation Ltd. Conair has become the largest fire-bombing and aerial application operation in North America. It is the major general aviation tenant at YXX.
1981 In 1981 a new control tower was commissioned.
1984 In September 1984 Pope John Paul II visited Abbotsford. More than 200,000 people converged at the airport for an open-air mass delivered by the Pope.
1986 Airspeed Aviation began operation in March, 1986.
1997 On January 1, 1997, ownership of the airport was officially transferred from the Department of Transport to the City of Abbotsford for the sum of $10.
1997 WestJet Airlines took its inaugual flight on June 18, 1997 and YXX became a jet passenger airport.
1998 The new Terminal building was opened on December 10, 1998 and further expanded in 2002 and again in 2004.
2002 The Customs building was constructed in 2002 and expanded in 2005.
2005 Runway 07-25 extension to 9,600 feet.
2006 YXX surpassed 500,000 passengers for the year.
2007

YXX celebrates the sixty-fifth anniversary of the first plane to land at the Abbotsford International Airport.

2008 Abbotsford Airport approved for the International Air Cargo Transshipment Program
2008 Revitilization Tax Exemption approved for the I7 zone at the Abbotsford International Airport.
2009 Abbotsford Airport welcomes Orca Air.
2009 New Chinook Helicopter Training Facility opens
2010 Abbotsford International Airport processed more than 500 aircraft during the timeframe of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
2011

Abbotsford Airport celebrated the completion of a $30 million investment towards  major upgrades to the Abbotsford International Airport.  The project was a result of a collaboration between the Canadian and British Columbia governments and Abbotsford International Airport.  Read more on the airport upgrades.

2011 The Abbotsford International Airport was awarded the William Templeton trophy from the British Columbia Aviation Council.  The trophy is awarded annually for outstanding initiative and achievement in the successful development of a community airport facility by an individual, association, municipal government or company.


2011 Abbotsford Airport launches the YXX Rewards Program, which is the first of its kind in all of Canada.