Halifax Stanfield International Airport
As one of the largest countries in the world, Canada’s logistical demands could prove a nightmare without an able travel system; an integral facility in the Canadian air travel system is Halifax Stanfield International Airport (abbreviated YHZ).
History of Halifax Stanfield Airport
Halifax Stanfield International Airport opened in 1960 after several previous airfields were deemed unsuitable to serve the area. During planning, one of the key concerns in the construction of the airport was weather-based, as officials scoured the region for a site with a minimal prevalence of fog; with the often inclement weather of the eastern Canadian climate YHZ rests in, safety concerns were numerous. Few upgrades were made to the airport before a $250 million expansion and renovation project was announced in 1998. A notable piece of history surrounding Halifax Stanfield International Airport revolves around the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, when terrorist attacks in the neighboring United States of America caused an elevated level of caution amongst air travel agencies. Operation Yellow Ribbon, a Canadian effort to divert commercial flights from critical U.S. airspace, was commenced at airports across the nation in 2001; YHZ handled more potentially dangerous flights (over 40) than any other airport involved in the operation, garnering appreciation from those affected by the attacks. Later, 2005 saw the renaming of the main passenger terminal in honor of Nova Scotian Premier Robert Stanfield; this event was commemorated with a plaque in the airport. In 2007, however, this decision was overturned, as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper decided to apply the name “Halifax Robert L. Stanfield International Airport” to the site; consequently, Stanfield’s name was dropped from the name of the passenger terminal. In recent years, construction has continued and improvements continue to be made, as seen in such structures as a 2,300-space, five-level parking garage completed in early 2009; expansion of the taxiway system and lengthening of runways have also allowed in a greater capacity for the Canadian facility.
Airport Operations & Features
Halifax Stanfield serves around 3.5 million passengers per year, though volume is increasing, and currently utilizes two runways. The runways, 7,700 and 10,500 feet in length, join 31 gate positions and 12 airbridges in handling over 80 thousand aircraft operations every year. The versatility of the facility is shown clearly by the fact that it was among a select few locations deemed suitable for an emergency landing of the Space Shuttle. Despite being somewhat isolated within its region, Halifax Stanfield still manages to be the seventh-busiest airport in Canada by passenger traffic.
Halifax Stanfield International Airport not only serves its passengers, but it serves them well. In a 2005 AETRA survey of airports around the globe, YHZ was found to be the highest-rated airport for customer satisfaction in the Americas, but the awards didn’t stop there. The 2006 Airports Council International(ACI) Service Quality Awards ceremony revealed two worldwide number-one ratings for Halifax’s hub; notable among these was the title of highest passenger satisfaction for any airport in the world serving less than five million patrons per year. YHZ kept this rating as recently as 2010, marking seven straight years as the top airport in the world serving under five million passengers per year and cementing its place as the best of its kind globally.