Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport

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Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport
Saskatoon International Airport
Saskatoon 110.jpg
WMO: 71866
Airport type Public
Owner Transport Canada
Operator Saskatoon Airport Authority
Serves Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Hub for Pronto Airways, Transwest Air, Express Air
Time zone CST (UTC−06:00)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−05:00)
Elevation AMSL 1,654 ft / 504 m
Coordinates 52°10′15″N 106°42′00″W / 52.17083°N 106.70000°W / 52.17083; -106.70000Coordinates: 52°10′15″N 106°42′00″W / 52.17083°N 106.70000°W / 52.17083; -106.70000
CYXE is located in Saskatchewan
Location in Saskatchewan
Direction Length Surface
ft m
09/27 8,300 2,530 Asphalt
15/33 6,200 1,890 Asphalt
Statistics (2011)
Aircraft movements 94,125
Passengers 1,246,405
Sources: Canada Flight Supplement,[1]Transport Canada[2]
Environment Canada[3]
Movements from Statistics Canada[4]
Passengers from Business View Magazine (p. 13)[5]

Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport (IATA: YXEICAO: CYXE), is an international airport located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The airport is serviced by passenger, courier and air freight operators.

The airport has nine passenger bridges, three ground loading positions, 32 check-in points and a customs/immigration arrivals area.

For international arrivals the airport is classified as an airport of entry by NAV CANADA and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency. CBSA officers at this airport can handle aircraft with no more than 200 passengers, however they can handle up to 300 if the aircraft is unloaded in stages.[1]

In 2001, traffic at YXE exceeded 800,000 passengers, making it the largest airport in the province; by 2005 traffic reached over 900,000 passengers.[6] In 2007 passenger traffic exceeded the 1,000,000 mark.[7] In 2010, it handled 1,215,923 passengers[8] and 90,719 aircraft movements.[4] With 1,246,405 passengers[5] in 2011, it was the 14th busiest airport in Canada. Passenger traffic increased in both 2012 and 2013. Saskatoon International reported the second highest passenger increase of 6.5% of Canada's major airports in 2012; servicing 1,326,838 passenger through the gates. In 2013, passenger traffic increased by 4.7% serving 1,389,900 passengers.[9] 2014 traffic increased to 1,484,615 or 6.85%.


NAV CANADA Control Tower Constructed in 2000
Check-in for Air Canada and WestJet 2006
Check-in for Pronto, Skyservice, Sunwing, Northwest, and Air Transat 2006

On June 1, 1929 the city of Saskatoon was given a "License For Air Harbour" and the airport was established. This provided a home for the Saskatoon Aero Club.[10][11]

In 1940 the city leased the airport to the Royal Canadian Air Force. The airport became RCAF Station Saskatoon. During the war years this was part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, with the Canadian Forces No. 4 Flight Training School established at the airport. To support these operations four large hangars were built as well as support buildings including a hospital and control tower.

After the war (1947) the airport was transferred to the Canadian Department of Transport for civilian use. That year Trans-Canada Air Lines, now known as Air Canada, started providing passenger service using DC-3 aircraft.

Air Canada in 1950 began operating the Canadair North Star at the airport, followed by the Vickers Viscount in 1955. A new terminal building was also constructed in 1955 by Transport Department architects.[12]

The primary runway (09/27) was lengthened in 1954 and again in 1960 to 8,300 ft (2,530 m). The secondary runway (15/33) was lengthened in 1963 to 6,200 ft (1,890 m).

As a result of the RCAF's post-war expansion, the RCAF re-acquired the military portion of the property and RCAF Station Saskatoon re-opened as an air training facility in October 1950. That same year, No. 23 Wing was formed to oversee 406 (Linx) Squadron and several other Auxiliary (Reserve) Squadrons in Western Canada. Permanent Married Quarters were built at the end of 1952, and the following year, the Air Marshall Curtis School opened for the children of station personnel.

No. 1 Advance Flying School opened at the station in 1952, one of the many Flying Training Schools opened across Canada to train RAF, RCAF and NATO aircrews. Students at the school trained on Mitchell Bombers and Expeditor aircraft trainers. Other lodger units at the station included, No. 3043 Technical Training Unit (Auxiliary) and No. 4002 Medical Unit (Auxiliary).

In 1956, the Instrument Flying School moved to Saskatoon from RCAF Station Centralia.

In 1962, control of RCAF Station Saskatoon was transferred from Training Command to Air Transport Command, but this change would be short-lived. RCAF Station Saskatoon closed in 1964 and both 406 Squadron and 23 Wing were disbanded.

RCAF Detachment No. 1005 Technical Support Depot was established at the site, serving as a disposal and storage facility for disused aircraft. This detachment remained at the Saskatoon Airport until closing in 1978.

On January 1, 1971, the City of Saskatoon annexed the airport and surrounding lands totalling 2,111.7 acres. The nearby area containing personnel housing and support services was annexed by the city in 1965.

Due to larger aircraft and more frequent flights, in 1972 plans were drafted for a new terminal building. The new terminal built by Holiday and Scott[12] was completed and opened on November 29, 1975. The former terminal was renovated in 1977. From 1977 to 1984 Boeing 747 charter flights were operated by Wardair to Europe until Wardair was bought by Canadian Airlines International.

In 1993 the name of the airport was changed to recognize Canada's 13th Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. In 1995 under the Canada-US Open Skies agreement Northwest Airlines started service to Minneapolis – Saint Paul. In 1996 WestJet began Boeing 737-200 service. In 1999 the airport was turned over to the Saskatoon Airport Authority, as part of the National Airports Policy.

In 2000 NAV CANADA constructed a new control tower and the airport authority began renovations and expansions to the terminal building. In October 2002 the first two phases of renovations to the air terminal building was completed at a cost of $18 Million. The updated terminal facilities are designed to handle 1.4 million passengers annually was designed by Kindrachuk Agrey Architects.[12]

In 2005 additional renovations were completed to the check-in area and baggage screening as well as the addition of a fifth bridge. Between October, 2005 and May 2008 Air Canada ended "mainline" service into Saskatoon, turning over routes to Air Canada Jazz. In 2006 the airport also expanded public parking to 500 stalls, Pronto Airways started operating at the airport. In 2006 Transwest Air introduced service to Fort McMurray, Alberta. For a short period of time between 2006 and April 2007 Northwestern Air also operated flights to Fort McMurray.

In March 2008 work started on the rehabilitation of runway 09/27, taxiway Foxtrot and Alpha at a cost of $16M.[13][14] In 2008, United Airlines announced non-stop regional service from Denver,[15] which began on September 2, 2008. In 2009, United announced regional service from Chicago;[16] the non-stop flight, which began on June 4, 2009, was replaced on June 10, 2010, by a one-stop flight to O'Hare.[17] Non-stop service, which resumed on August 27, 2013, ended on October 1, 2014.

Expansion 2014[edit]

In 2009, the Saskatoon airport authority announced a new expansion for the terminal. The plan included 9 bridgeable gates and a food court, including a full service restaurant and bar (post-security), there will be more retail as well in that area, including a duty-free outlet. Another food court will be built pre-security.

The new design moved security for more room for retail, but because of the expansion, the new security will be twice as big. The check-in area was not included in the expansion, although it is mentioned that it will be expanded. A new Canadian Customs and Immigration area was put in, as well as two more baggage carousels. The designers also left space that was meant for an American Pre-Customs and Immigration area, so in the future YXE can be upgraded to have U.S. Pre-Clearance area.

The Saskatoon Airport Authority says that new runways, terminal renovations, and expansions to the tune of $70 million will be spent. 1.04 million passengers annually use the Saskatoon airport facility and this is expected to climb to 1.2 million by 2011.[18][19]

In 2010 construction started on apron improvements, remote stands and preparatory work to start on reconstruction of the terminal building in 2011. The expansion is designed to accommodate 8 bridges, expanded passenger waiting areas, a business/first class lounge and expanded baggage claim area.[20][21]

In 2012, Saskatoon International Airport was the 2nd fastest growing airport of all 15 major airports in Canada. The growth rate of 6.5% allowed Saskatoon Airport to process 1.326 million passengers in 2012.[22] Phase 1 of Saskatoon International Airport expansion also began at a cost of $53 million. Phase 1 is expected to be completed August 2013 followed by Phase 2 to be completed in summer 2014. The expansion will virtually double the size of the air terminal building to 266,670 ft2.

In 2013, the Saskatoon Airport Authority completed its phase 1 terminal expansion. United Airlines resumed direct service to Chicago, eliminating the station stop at Regina International Airport previously flown by the airline as per its Saskatoon - Chicago route. In October, the airport welcomed its first arriving and departing passengers into the expanded terminal. Phase 2 of the multimillion dollar expansion began and is expected to be completed in October 2014. In December, International Currency Exchange (ICE) opened a branch in the main terminal, the first in Saskatchewan. ICE allows arriving and departing passengers to purchase and exchange 30 major and exotic currencies, prepaid currency cards, travel insurance and more. Just under 1.4 million people travelled through the Airport in 2013 – the most ever. That’s an increase of 4.8 per cent over the previous year and 82.6 per cent more passengers than used the Airport only 10 years ago. The new Terminal was immediately tested with record setting passenger volumes. December passenger traffic increased 8.8 per cent over the same month one year earlier, making December the second busiest month in the history of the Airport, behind only January 2013. The 4.8 per cent increase in annual traffic for 2013 was not only an all-time record for Saskatoon, it also placed the facility among the busiest and fastest-growing airports in all of Canada. Saskatoon posted increases in all travel sectors during 2013 with domestic travel up 4.3 per cent, travel in Saskatchewan up 6.2 per cent, transborder travel increasing 7.7 per cent and charter travel increasing 4.1 per cent.[23]

2014 further expanded the Saskatoon International Airport services adding additional flights and amenities. On February 15, 2014, Westjet Encore launched twice daily service to Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport. Additionally, Westjet converted its mainline Edmonton operations to Westjet Encore. Westjet also converted its seasonal service to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport to year-round; adding twice weekly flights during the summer schedule.[24] However, United canceled their service to Chicago.[25] Record passengers passed through the terminal in 2014. An increase of 6.85% year over year attracted 1,484,615 passengers, keeping in mind these passenger numbers were achieved during Phase I and Phase II expansion and construction.

2015 started off on a less than positive note. In January, United Airlines notified the Saskatoon Airport Authority (SAA) and the Regina Airport Authority (RAA) that their twice daily service to Denver will cease effective February 28, 2015. This ultimately ended United Airlines servicing the province of Saskatchewan. United Airlines indicated a number of circumstances as contributing factors to the cancellation in service including fleet replacement issues, the lower Canadian dollar, tough competitive pricing, and a robust American economy.[26] In January SAA reported its busiest month ever. Passenger traffic increased 0.9% Year over Year showing 133,788 passenger passing through the terminal. In March, Missinipi Airways began thrice-weekly service to Saskatoon direct to Flin Flon MB with a 1 stop connection to The Pas, Manitoba departing Monday's, Wednesday's, and Friday's using a 9-seat King Air 200.[27] In June, Air Canada added a sixth daily flight to Toronto departing at 01:00hrs commonly referred to as a "Red-Eye", serviced by an Embraer E75.

Passenger services[edit]

Prairie Unique Gifts

The airport contains a small historical display on the main floor. Retail outlets include a Relay outlet (including duty-free), and a Prairie Unique Gifts outlet. Food services consist of a Tim Hortons, the Crossroads Grill and The Prairie Elevator Restaurant & Lounge. Past pre-board screening there is a To Go outlet.

An International Currency Exchange (ICE) located in the main terminal opened in 2014, allowing arriving and departing passengers to purchase and exchange 30 major and exotic currencies, prepaid currency cards, travel insurance and more.

Phase II expansion continued in 2015 which saw the opening of both Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Refuel Restaurant and Lounge, and Prairie North Gifts on the secure side passenger lounge, complementing the expanding offerings for arriving and disembarking passenger.

In February 2015, St.John's Ambulance introduced Therapy Dogs to the airport, providing a valuable service in putting nervous passengers at ease.

Ground transportation[edit]

Saskatoon Transit (Route No 12) provides city bus service between the airport and the downtown core and University of Saskatchewan campus. An accurate transit schedule can be found at Saskatoon Transit Route & Schedule Adjustments

Taxi service is provided from the airport, as well as several car rental agencies. Currently United Cabs Limited. is the licensed provider of both taxi and limousine services.[28] Several hotels near the airport provide shuttle services.

Other air side services[edit]

In addition to the main terminal the airport also contains a variety of additional buildings. These include the International Aviation Terminal (used by Air Canada Cargo, Anderson Aviation, Dryden Air-services). Many former Air Canada Jazz and Canadian Regional Airlines Fokker F28 aircraft have been stored at the airport since they were retired from the fleet in 2003.

The Saskatchewan Air Ambulance providing fixed wing air ambulance services has its headquarters and main base at the airport.[29] There is a hangar for a Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society helicopter out of the Saskatoon airport.[30]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Scheduled airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Air Canada Toronto-Pearson
Air Canada Express Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Winnipeg
Seasonal: Ottawa, Regina, Toronto-Pearson (resumes June 30, 2015)
Delta Connection Minneapolis/St. Paul
Missinippi Air Flin Flon, The Pas
ExpressAir Regina
Pronto Airways Fond Du Lac, Points North, Prince Albert, Stony Rapids, Uranium City, Wollaston
Seasonal: Baker Lake, Rankin Inlet
Transwest Air Fond Du Lac, La Ronge, Points North, Prince Albert, Stony Rapids, Wollaston
WestJet Calgary, Las Vegas, Toronto-Pearson
Seasonal: Cancún, Phoenix, Puerto Vallarta, Vancouver
WestJet Encore Edmonton, Winnipeg

Charter airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Air Transat Seasonal:[31] Cancún, Manzanillo, Montego Bay, Puerto Vallarta, Punta Cana, Varadero
Canadian North Fort MacKay, Hamilton
Sunwing Airlines Seasonal:[31] Cancún, Montego Bay, Huatulco, Puerto Vallarta, Santa Clara, San José del Cabo, Varadero, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Cayo Coco, Punta Cana

Cargo airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Cargojet Airways Regina, Winnipeg[32]
SkyLink Express Winnipeg


Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport Fire Department operates 2 crash tenders (Oshkosh Stryker 3000) in renovated (2008) fire station to provide fire and rescue services at the airport.

Saskatoon Police Service responds to calls at the airport.

Garda Security is contracted by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority to provide security screening for passengers, non-passengers, and baggage screening. All Screening Officers wear CATSA uniforms; however, are not Government of Canada employees, rather are employed by the contractor.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On May 22, 2008 a Canadian North Boeing 737-200 en route from Fort MacKay/Horizon Airport encountered a major vibration and fire in the right engine on final approach to Saskatoon. The fire occurred when the aircraft was 50 m (160 ft) above the ground and 1,700 m (5,600 ft) from Runway 33. The aircraft had 102 passengers and 5 crew on board. There were no injuries. The aircraft was operating a charter service (Flight 1714) that was scheduled as Fort McKay/Horizon – Saskatoon – MontrealMoncton.[33]
  • On April 1, 2011 a Fugro Aviation Canada Limited CASA C-212, C-FDKM, carrying 3 crew, crashed while attempting a landing at Saskatoon Airport. After declaring an emergency with an engine failure, the aircraft crashed on a Saskatoon street (Wanuskewin Drive) and hit concrete sound barrier. 1 killed, 2 injured.[34]
  • On January 9, 2014, an Air Canada Express flight #8588 arriving from Calgary landed normally on Runway 09 and during the subsequent taxiing operation veered off the end of the runway. Fifty-two passengers and four crew members were on board at the time. No one was injured.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 24 July 2014 to 0901Z 18 September 2014
  2. ^ Airport Divestiture Status Report
  3. ^ Synoptic/Metstat Station Information
  4. ^ a b Total aircraft movements by class of operation — NAV CANADA towers
  5. ^ a b Business View Magazine (p. 13)
  6. ^ 2005 Passenger Traffic at Saskatoon's Airport sets new record
  7. ^ John G. Diefenbaker Welcomes 1 Millionth Passenger of 2007 December 18, 2007 Press Release
  8. ^ Airports Council International - 2010 North American Final Ranking
  9. ^
  10. ^ 2004 Annual Report
  11. ^ 75 years of Aviation History in Saskatoon
  12. ^ a b c
  13. ^ Runway 09-27 April 15, 2008
  14. ^ Rehabilitation of Runway 09-27, Taxiway Alpha (west) and foxtrot, and Apron VI and VII Construction Contract No. 0230-00-00-28 Plan of Construction Operations - Pryde Schropp McComb, Inc
  15. ^ "Saskatoon will get Denver flight". Leader-Post. CanWest. May 21, 2008. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  16. ^ Kyle, Cassandra (March 13, 2009). "Saskatoon, Chicago united". The StarPhoenix (CanWest). 
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Canadian airports flying high". The StarPhoenix. CanWest. July 5, 2008. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  19. ^ Isfeld, Gordon; Morris, Helen (July 5, 2008). "Canadian airports flying high. Passenger numbers hitting record levels throughout country. Expansion: Saskatoon's airport ' an asset to the community '". Saskatoon Star Phoenix Canwest News Services. pp. D1 and D4. 
  20. ^ Reconstruction Work
  21. ^ 3D Rendering of Terminal Expansion
  22. ^ List of the busiest airports in Canada
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ Taxi services
  29. ^ LIFEGUARD – Saskatchewan Air Ambulance (PDF), Ministry of Health, retrieved 2011-20-20  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  30. ^ "SASKATCHEWAN MOVES FORWARD WITH HELICOPTER AIR MEDICAL SERVICE" (Press release). Government of Saskatchewan. JAPRIL 6, 2011. Retrieved 2011-20-20.  Check date values in: |date=, |accessdate= (help)
  31. ^ a b "Destinations". Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  32. ^
  33. ^ The Aviation Herald
  34. ^ Maclean, Rory (April 2, 2011). "Plane crashes on Wanuskewin Drive; one killed, two in Saskatoon hospital". The StarPhoenix. Postmedia Network. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  35. ^

External links[edit]