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NEWS Last modified on September 9, 2016

Big things ahead for Québec's airport as it celebrates its 75th anniversary

Québec City Jean-Lesage International Airport (YQB), which turns 75 years old on Sunday, is confident that its YQB 2018 expansion project and the recently announced plans for a US Preclearance facility ensure that it has a bright future.

Indeed, the gateway believes that the new facilities ensure that "great things are in store" in the years ahead as it cements its status as a key economic generator for the city.

"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," notes Aéroport de Québec inc (AQi) president and CEO, Gaëtan Gagné. 

The airport wil officially mark its 75th birthday on Sunday as September 11, 1941, was the day the then World War II airfield handled its first flight.
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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. 

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.
Quebec

"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," explains Gagné. 

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," says the airport, noting that during a visit to Washington on March 10, 2016, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and US President, Barack Obama, announced the establishment of a US preclearance centre at the Québec City airport.
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The move will streamline connections to US airports and open up access to hundreds of US 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," says AQi's Board of Directors chairman, André Fortin. 

"This project would not have been possible without the community's overwhelming support."

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