Edmonton City Centre (Blatchford Field) Airport
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2009)|
|Edmonton City Centre Airport
|City Centre Airport control tower|
|IATA: YXD – ICAO: CYXD|
|Owner||City of Edmonton|
|Elevation AMSL||2,202 ft / 671 m|
|Sources: Canada Flight Supplement
Movements from Statistics Canada
Edmonton City Centre (Blatchford Field) Airport, (IATA: YXD, ICAO: CYXD), is located within the city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It is bordered by Yellowhead Trail to the north, Kingsway to the south, 121 Street to the west, and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) to the east. It encompasses approximately 144 acres (58 ha) of land just north of the Edmonton city centre. The airport is named for the former mayor Kenneth Alexander Blatchford. Before being named Edmonton City Centre Airport (ECCA), it was known as the Edmonton Municipal Airport.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (June 2009)|
The airport has a rich aviation history, being the first licensed airfield in Canada (1929). Characters such as Wop May helped pioneer aviation in Alberta and Northern Canada, further solidifying Blatchford Field as the "Gateway to the North". Wiley Post landed there during both of his circumnavigations. The airport was also a major stop-over on the Northwest Staging Route during World War II and hosted a wartime British Commonwealth Air Training Plan flying school and an air observer school. A full history can be gathered at the Alberta Aviation Museum.
A weather station was established in 1937. Over the years since then, its site has witnessed increasing influence by the urban heat island effect. By the mid-1970s, "Edmonton Municipal A." (as listed in the Monthly Record of Meteorological Observations in Canada) was regularly recording some of the longest frost-free periods in the Prairie Provinces with the first fall frost often not coming before October.
The ECCA has been embroiled in a fierce debate for several decades. In the 1950s, the need for a longer set of runways to accommodate the larger aircraft on the horizon was clear. With no ability to expand CYXD, the search was on for a new site. Despite the military base at Namao (now CFB Edmonton), just north of the city, built by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) in World War II and expanded to handle SAC (Strategic Air Command) in the 1950s with the largest runway in Canada, the current site for the Edmonton International Airport (CYEG) was chosen at Leduc, 14 NM (26 km; 16 mi) south southwest of downtown Edmonton. Upon completion of the international airport in 1963, CYXD was to close. After being examined by consultants, and with the unforeseen development of Regional Passenger Service, especially to Calgary, it was decided by the City of Edmonton to keep CYXD open, and entered Edmonton into a 30+ year airport debate that has shaped logistics, transportation, and regional disparity issues ever since.
Several types of jet passenger aircraft did use CYXD, notably the Boeing 737-200. These were initially operated by Pacific Western Airlines and its later incarnation Canadian Airlines from their initial purchase in the late 1960s up until consolidation. The runway lengths are based on the absolute maximum performance characteristics and weight of this airliner; however, the extreme wear caused by utilising this field and pushing these limits was a concern. Other jet service came in the form of the BAe 146 as an Air Canada connector flight operated by Air BC. DC-9s in Air Canada livery operated briefly out of YXD in the early 1980s but left due to field/weight limitations. Time Air and its later brand of Canadian Regional operated Fokker F28s and Echo Bay Mines Limited operated a private 727-100 from the field for several years. However, the demands for ever increasing range and the increased weight and runway length requirements for the next generation aircraft in these series made their use at CYXD economically and in the many cases physically impossible.
In the 1992 municipal election, the City of Edmonton held a plebiscite with the question of "Are you in favour of bylaw No. 10,205, The Edmonton Municipal Airport Referendum bylaw?". This bylaw kept CYXD open to all traffic that the field could legally handle; 54% approved. In the 1995 election, a second plebiscite was put forth to the citizens of Edmonton asking if the bylaw should be repealed on the basis of consolidating all scheduled traffic at CYEG. A determination of whether to close the airport was not an option. 77% of voters approved this version, and in June 1996, the consolidation process was finalized.
Currently, CYXD remains open as per the lease with the City of Edmonton. There are small passenger airlines that can utilize the facility. These airlines, however, are not allowed to transport more than 10 passengers and are restricted to which destinations they can serve - primarily destinations north of the city. Edmonton City Centre Airport is mainly used for air charter, general aviation, flight training and medivac (air ambulance).
Beginning in 2005, the airport has annually been converted into a speedway for the Edmonton Grand Prix Champ Car race. Due to Champ Car merging with the Indy Racing League, the IZOD INDYCAR Series and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series used to race there. Beginning with the July 2011 event, the track layout was reconfigured to use a more northeasterly section of the airport, including the now permanently closed runway 16-34.
For private and corporate aviation, there are two Fixed base operators (FBO) on site, located on the west side of the airfield off Taxiway A. Additional on-site amenities include the Alberta Aviation Museum, two hotels, and a cafeteria in the Edmonton Flying Club's building.
Close to the field is shopping at Kingsway Mall, Canadian Tire, the Chateau Louis (hotel), the Alberta and Edmonton office for St. John Ambulance, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), and the Via Rail train station to the north (off Bush Pilot Road).
Private air ambulances use the Esso Avitat hangar to store their ground support units. A STARS air ambulance is also based at the airport. Proximity to the Royal Alexandra Hospital provides a link for emergency medical access by air to many of Alberta's rural communities.
Due to its location in the central portion of the city, there are both curfew restrictions and noise abatement procedures. The field maintains 24 X 7 operations, with the strictest noise regulations in effect from 22:00h to 07:00h local time. More information can be garnered from Edmonton Airports or from Nav Canada.
Field elevation is 2,202 ft (671 m), runway 12/30 is 5,870 by 200 ft (1,789 by 61 m). As of October, 2010 runway 16/34 was permanently closed. Runway 12 has an RNAV (GNSS) instrument approach to LPV minimums and runway 30 has an RNAV (GNSS) approach to LNAV minimums. The former NDB approaches to runways 16 and 34 are now available to circling minimums.
Economic impact 
The ECCA employs roughly 1,000 people and adds $18 million in tax revenues for the city of Edmonton. It generated $4.6 million in direct revenue for Edmonton Airports, with expenses of $3.9 million.
Closure and redevelopment 
On July 8, 2009, the city council decided on a phased closure of the airport. In September, the city council postponed the closure of the north-south runway until after the Indy and Airfest events of 2010. On August 3, 2010, runway 16/34 was closed to air traffic with a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) being issued at 3 am that morning. Current licenses for scheduled air service will not be renewed. Closure of the remaining runway will be announced at a future date. The museum and some non-aviation institutions will remain. Some land will be transferred to NAIT, and the rest will be converted to a primarily residential development.
Airlines and destinations 
|Airco Aircraft Charters Ltd||Grande Prairie|
|Empire Airlines||Slave Lake|
|Kelowna Flightcraft Air Charter||Calgary|
|North Cariboo Air||Bonnyville, Calgary, Peace River|
|Northern Air||Peace River|
|Transport Canada||Fort Smith, Whitehorse|
Flight schools 
See also 
- Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 2 May 2013 to 0901Z 27 June 2013
- 2008 Annual Report and Financials
- Total aircraft movements by class of operation — NAV CANADA towers
- City of Edmonton. "Population, Historical" (PDF). City of Edmonton. Retrieved February 26, 2007.
- Metmen in Wartime: Meteorology in Canada 1939-1945 by Morley K. Thomas page 137
- Fisher Report 1962, Edmonton City Archives
- ECCA - Edmonton City Centre Airport
- Airport closure prolonged
- Brian Gavriloff (August 4, 2010). "Edmonton City Centre Airport down to one runway". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
- City Centre Redevelopment
- Centennial Flight Centre
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Edmonton City Centre Airport|
- Edmonton City Centre Airport
- From Cow Pasture to Airport - Real Estate Weekly article
- Nav Canada's Aerodrome Chart (PDF)
- Page about this airport on COPA's Places to Fly airport directory
- Past three hours METARs, SPECI and current TAFs for Edmonton City Centre (Blatchford Field) Airport from Nav Canada as available.