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AIRPORT DESIGN Last modified on August 29, 2016

Project Watch - Calgary International Airport

The gateway’s new International Terminal Building (ITB) is set to open later this year.


Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Important developments: New International Terminal Building and Connections Corridor

Scheduled completion: October 2016

Principal companies involved: DIALOG (architect and prime consultant); AECOM (mechanical and electrical engineering); RJC (structural engineering); EllisDon (overall construction manager); Trotter and Morton (mechanical and electrical construction managers); Crisplant/BEUMER Group (baggage handling systems)

Total investment: C$2.6 billion (including new runway)


Calgary International Airport’s planned new international and transborder terminal and connectivity component, part of the biggest expansion project in the gateway’s history, is on target to open in October.

The 185,000sqm complex will more than double the size of the existing terminal building and is the key project of the gateway’s ten-year C$2.6 billion Airport Development Program, which included a new 14,000ft parallel runway that opened in June, 2014.

Its highly sustainable design will reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions making it one the world’s most environmentally friendly terminals.

Sustainable features include geothermal heating via in-floor radiant heat tubing; rainwater collection for use within the terminal; and high-efficiency building envelope.

The facility will also include a sophisticated energy-efficient baggage handling system for both inbound and outbound flights.

The system, manufactured by Crisplant, will have an initial capacity of 4,000 items per hour on both in and outbound lines, and relies on sensor-controlled modules to power up the system only when the baggage totes are in operation.

In terms of facilities, the terminal will boast 24 aircraft gates, its own US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility and two post security retail plazas – one for transborder US traffic and the other for all other international destinations – which between will have more than 50 shops and F&B outlets.

The new terminal will also have two common-use passenger lounges; North America’s first call-to-gate gate assignment programme; and a new Connections Corridor providing a link to the existing terminal.

According to the airport, a key element of the Connections Corridor is the YYC LINK, a custom-designed, Canadian built passenger transit system. The system is equipped with electric-powered, 10-passenger YYC
LINK vehicles that will run on a scheduled service transporting passengers between the concourses.

Another new facility for the terminal is a Connections Centre that is designed to ensure quick and hassle free transfers for passengers travelling between domestic, transborder and international flights.

As part of the streamlined service, most passengers travelling between the different sectors will no longer have to pick up or re-screen their luggage before boarding their onward connections.

Served by its own multi-level roadway system, the new terminal will feature tri-sector gates with stacked holdrooms – a concept developed by DIALOG along with the airport – that are designed to allow greater flexibility for inbound and outbound aircraft movements. 

Architect, DIALOG, is also quick to point out that is has captured the spirit of the prairies and the natural beauty of the Rockies and foothills in every aspect of the design of the complex.

Garth Atkinson, president and CEO of Calgary Airport Authority, says: “We’ve worked very closely with the airlines and our other partners from the outset on this project to ensure the new terminal facilities will meet both current and future needs, and that we are ready for opening day later this year.

“With the inclusion of new technologies and processes, this will be a terminal that provides an efficient and engaging experience for arriving, departing and connecting passengers.”

On the topic of sustainability, Atkinsion notes: “Our basic approach to sustainability is that we are going to do things that make economic sense, and when you’re building a new facility, that’s the time to seize your opportunity and make it state-of-the-art.”

Calgary International Airport is a major economic generator for the city and the Canadian province of Alberta, contributing an estimated C$8.28 billion per annum to the region and supporting 48,000 jobs.

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