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Thunder Bay International Airport
Aéroport International de Thunder Bay
File:Thunder Bay International Airports Authority Logo.svg
– WMO: 71749
Airport type Public
Owner Transport Canada[1]
Operator Thunder Bay International Airports Authority
Serves Thunder Bay, Ontario
Elevation AMSL 654 ft / 199 m
Coordinates 48°22′19″N 089°19′18″W / 48.37194°N 89.32167°W / 48.37194; -89.32167Coordinates: 48°22′19″N 089°19′18″W / 48.37194°N 89.32167°W / 48.37194; -89.32167

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Direction Length Surface
ft m
07/25 7,318 2,231 Asphalt
12/30 5,297 1,615 Asphalt
Statistics (2016)
Aircraft movements 94,836
Passengers 807,041
Sources: Canada Flight Supplement[2]
Environment Canada[3]
Movements from Statistics Canada[4]
Passengers from Thunder Bay Airport Authority Inc.[5]

Thunder Bay Airport ramp side

Thunder Bay International Airport, (IATA: YQT, ICAO: CYQT), is an airport in the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. With 108,130 aircraft movements in 2012, it was the fourth busiest airport in Ontario and the 16th busiest airport in Canada.[4] During the same year, more than 761,000 passengers went through the airport.[5]

The airport is classified as an airport of entry by Nav Canada and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). CBSA officers at this airport can handle aircraft with up to 40 passengers.[2]


It was built as the Fort William Municipal Airport in 1938, partly as a means of relieving unemployment.[6]

During World War II, the Thunder Bay (then Fort William) airport was home to No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School, part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The airport was also used as a base for test flights of fighter aircraft being built at the nearby Canadian Car and Foundry factory.

Before the two cities of Fort William and Port Arthur merged, it was called the Canadian Lakehead Airport.

The airport went under major renovations in 1994 with the construction of a new airport terminal building, including two jetways, a large food court, a gift shop and an arcade.

The airport was handed over from the government in 1997 to the Thunder Bay International Airports Authority, a non-profit organization. The airport handled over 600,000 passengers in 2006 for the first time since 2001.[7]

Historical aerodrome information[]

In approximately 1942 the aerodrome was listed as RCAF & D of T Aerodrome - Fort William, Ontario at 48°22′N 89°19′W / 48.367°N 89.317°W / 48.367; -89.317 with a variation of 01 degrees east and elevation of 645 ft (197 m). Three runways were listed as follows: [8]

Runway Name Length Width Surface
14/32 4,000 ft (1,200 m) 500 ft (150 m) Turf
9/27 3,990 ft (1,220 m) 500 ft (150 m) Turf
4/22 4,000 ft (1,200 m) 500 ft (150 m) Turf

Historical airline jet service[]

A number of airlines served the airport with scheduled passenger jet service in the past from the late 1960s to the early 2000s. These air carriers along with the respective jetliner types they operated from the airfield are as follows:

  • Air Canada (mainline service):[9] Airbus A319, Boeing 727-200, McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30
  • Air Ontario: Fokker F28
  • Canadian Airlines International:[10] Boeing 737-200
  • Canadian Regional Airlines:[11] Fokker F28
  • CanJet:[12] Boeing 737-200
  • Jetsgo:[13] Fokker 100, McDonnell Douglas MD-80
  • Nordair:[14] Boeing 737-200
  • North Central Airlines:[15] McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30
  • Pacific Western Airlines:[9] Boeing 737-200
  • Republic Airlines (1979-1986):[16] McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30
  • Transair (Canada):[17] Boeing 737-200, Fokker F28
  • Vistajet:[18] Boeing 737-200

According to various Official Airline Guide (OAG) editions as well as airline timetables, the majority of jet service operated by Canadian-based air carriers was nonstop or direct to Toronto and Winnipeg. U.S.-based North Central Airlines operated nonstop flights to Duluth with continuing no change of plane jet service to Chicago O'Hare Airport while successor Republic Airlines (1979-1986) also flew nonstop to Duluth with continuing no change of plane jet service to Minneapolis/St. Paul and then on to Denver.[15][19]

During the mid 1980s, three airlines were competing with nonstop service operated with mainline jet aircraft between Thunder Bay and Toronto:[9] Air Canada with Boeing 727-200 and McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 aircraft, Nordair with Boeing 737-200 aircraft and Pacific Western Airlines with Boeing 737-200 aircraft.

Airlines and destinations[]


Airlines Destinations 
Air Canada Rouge[20] Toronto–Pearson

Bearskin Airlines[21] Dryden, Fort Frances, Sault Ste. Marie, Sioux Lookout, Sudbury

North Star Air[22][23] Fort Hope/Eabametoong, Muskrat Dam, Neskantaga, Ogoki Post, Sachigo Lake, Sioux Lookout, Weagamow, Webequie

Porter Airlines[24] Toronto–Billy Bishop

Sunwing Airlines[25] Cancun, Punta Cana,[26] Varadero

Superior Airways Charter: Red Lake

Wasaya Airways[27] Sioux Lookout, Webequie, Winnipeg
WestJet Encore[28] Toronto–Pearson, Winnipeg


Airlines Destinations 
Cargojet Airways Winnipeg
FedEx Feeder Winnipeg
North Star Airways On-demand Canadian and US destinations


Airlines Destinations 
Air Bravo On-demand charter
Thunder Airlines On-demand charter
North Star Airways On-demand Canadian and US destinations


Thunder Bay Airport interior

  • CHC Helicopter for Ornge (Ontario Air Ambulance)
  • Thunder Airlines for Ornge
  • Confederation College School of Aviation – Aviation Centre of Excellence
  • Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services - seasonal firefighting aircraft base

Parking and transportation[]

Vehicles can reach the airport via Ontario Highway 61 and connections with Harbour Expressway and Ontario Highway 11 into Thunder Bay's core.

The parking lot contains 100 short-term spaces, 300 long-term spaces, curbside taxi service and courtesy cars. Thunder Bay Transit bus route 14 Arthur serves the airport terminal and the nearby Aviation Centre of Excellence.


The Thunder Bay International Airport has a 2-storey terminal building.

Thunder Bay's runways are primarily used by small or larger turboprop aircraft such as the Bombardier Q400 propjet; however, they are capable of accommodating narrow-body jetliners such as current generation Boeing 737 aircraft operated by (formerly) Air Transat, Sunwing Airlines and WestJet. As noted above, the airport routinely handled Boeing 727-200, Boeing 737-200 and McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 mainline jet aircraft as well as the smaller Fokker F28 Fellowship twin jet in the past. Other larger jet aircraft types have also landed at the airport in the past with examples including a Boeing 720 operated by American Airlines in 1962, Boeing 757-200 and wide body Airbus A310 aircraft operated by Royal Aviation subsidiary Royal Airlines in 1999 and 2000, and a wide body Boeing 747SP operated as the "Global Peace Ambassadors" aircraft for Christian preacher K.A. Paul in 2005.[citation needed]

The airport also has two fixed-base operators: Innotech Aviation Services for Shell Aviation, and Thunder Bay Flight Refuelling for Esso Avitat.


  1. "National Airports Policy (NAP): Airports Transfer Plan Updated October 01, 2005". Transport Canada. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 24 July 2014 to 0901Z 18 September 2014
  3. "Synoptic/Metstat Station Information". Retrieved 29 March 2018. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Canada, Government of Canada, Statistics. "Aircraft Movement Statistics: NAV CANADA Towers and Flight Service Stations: Annual Report (TP 577): Table 2-1 — Total aircraft movements by class of operation — NAV CANADA towers". Retrieved 29 March 2018. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Error Occurred - Utopia Control Panel". Retrieved 29 March 2018. 
  6. * Tronrud, Thorold J; Epp, Ernest A.; and others. (1995). Thunder Bay: From Rivalry to Unity Archived 2012-02-07 at the Wayback Machine.. Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society, pp96. ISBN 0-920119-22-0.
  7. "Error Occurred - Utopia Control Panel". Retrieved 29 March 2018. 
  8. Staff writer (c. 1942). Pilots Handbook of Aerodromes and Seaplane Bases Vol. 1. Royal Canadian Air Force. p. 112. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Official Airline Guide (OAG)". Feb. 15, 1985 edition, Toronto-Thunder Bay schedules. 
  10. "Official Airline Guide (OAG)". April 2, 1995 edition, Toronto-Thunder Bay schedules. 
  11. "Official Airline Guide (OAG)". June 1, 1999 edition, Toronto-Thunder Bay schedules. 
  12. "CanJet timetables". 
  13., Summer 2003 Jetsgo timetable
  14. "Official Airline Guide (OAG)". Nov. 15, 1979 edition, Toronto-Thunder Bay schedules. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 "North Central Airlines system timetable". Oct. 29, 1967 edition. 
  16. "Official Airline Guide (OAG)". Nov. 15, 1979 edition, Duluth-Thunder Bay schedules. 
  17. "Transair system timetables". 
  18. "Vistajet timetable". 
  19. "Republic Airlines system timetable". July 1, 1979 edition. 
  20. "Air Canada Map". 
  21. "Bearskin Airlines - Route Map". 
  22. "North Star Air Ltd. - Flex Flights Route Map". 
  23. "North Star Air Ltd. - New! Dash 8 Service Marten Falls Muskrat Dam Round Lake Sachigo Lake / Schedules". 
  24. Inc., Porter Airlines. "Interactive Route Map - Destinations - Porter Airlines". 
  25. "Sunwing". 
  26. "Sunwing expands services from Thunder Bay; adds direct flights to Punta Cana for the first time". Sunwing Vacations Inc.. July 31, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018. 
  27. "Wasaya Airways". 
  28. "Direct flights (non-stop)". Retrieved December 7, 2018. , search for flights departing from Thunder Bay

External links[]