Atkinson joined the airport industry with Transport Canada in 1976 and moved to Calgary from Toronto Pearson in 1981.
He became deeply involved in the airport transfer process in the 1980s and the establishment of the Calgary Airport Authority as an operating company, serving in various senior management roles before becoming boss in 2001.
The airport authority claims that under Atkinson's leadership Calgary International Airport (YYC) has become a market leader in western Canada with a record 15.5 million passengers and 240,000 aircraft movements in 2015.
A total of C$4.2 billion has been invested in upgrading the gateway's infrastructure since 1992, the package of improvements including Canada’s longest runway and the new two million square feet, 24-gate International Terminal that will open in October 2016.
YYC also has 6.3 million square feet of industrial and commercial space on 1,000 acres of leased land that includes 440,000sqft of authority owned and operated air cargo facilities and two million square feet of dedicated air cargo apron.
“I was lucky to land in Calgary 35 years ago and it’s been a great privilege to participate in such a dynamic local environment and be part of the establishment of Canada’s local airport authority industry” says Garth Atkinson.
“I’ve worked with a lot of great people over the years, and among other things, we’ve had a lot of fun along the way as we built YYC into what it is today”.
He will continue to lead the organisation through the balance of 2016 and the opening of the new International Terminal in the fall.
During this period of time, the Board of Directors will undertake a global search process, which will include both internal and external candidates, for a new president and CEO.