Canada’s 15th busiest airport by aircraft movements is steeped in military history and is still used by the Armed Forces as a garrison. Here, this sponsored promotion reveals more about the airport's operations today, its military past and links to the British Commonwealth.
A dual-use airport, Montréal Saint-Hubert Longueuil also known as Montréal/Saint-Hubert Airport is located just 16km east of downtown Montreal.
The conveniently-located airport is used for both military operations and commercial aviation.
It’s great for private charter jet landings near Montreal as it has an airport of entry classification, so travellers from any country can land here.
Until the construction of Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, Montréal/Saint-Hubert Airport was the only airport in Montreal.
The Former RCAF Station St Hubert
The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) base, which was located at the airport, was closed in 1997. It is now occupied by two other squadrons but is not used for the same purposes.
The RCAF station was established during World War II and was home to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan No. 13, also known as 13 SFTS between 1941 and 1944.
The station remained open after the 13 SFTS closed and in 1968 it became part of the CFB Montreal thanks to the unification of the Canadian forces.
The Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force were merged and lost their status as separate legal entities as part of unification.
The Royal Canadian Air Force, along with its personnel and aircraft, was divided up between the mobile command, then maritime command, air defence, air transport, and the training command.
Some years later In 1975, the aircraft of the Canadian Armed Forces were placed under new command. This was known as Air Command.
On 16 August 2011, the Air Command was changed to the Royal Canadian Air Force to reflect its previous historical name.
However, the structure has not changed like it did in 1968 and the services still operate as a whole instead of individually.
The government decided to make these changes in order to align Canada with other key Commonwealth countries who use royal designation to indicate that it respects Canada's military heritage.
In its prime, the station was home to two CF 100 fighter squadrons and two RCAF Reserve Sabre squadrons. This was in addition to already housing the RCAF air defence command headquarters.
R100 Airship Landing
The airport gained credit in 1930 after it became the landing place of the first non-stop passenger flight across the North Atlantic in an airship.
The R100 airship famously arrived at the airport on August 1st 1930 but since then has become Canada’s 15th busiest airport.
The R100, also known as 'His Majesty's Airship R100, was a British-built, privately-designed rigid airship.
It was made as part of a two-ship competition with the aim of finding a ship which could be developed into a commercial airship service for use on British Empire routes around the world.
The scheme was unsuccessful and following the crash of the R101 in October 1930 the Imperial Airship Scheme was terminated. The R100 was also broken up for scrap.
Today, the airport is not used as the RCAF station that it once was for the Canadian air force or for landing British airships.
However, the armed forces still use the base as a garrison made up of the 438 Tactical Helicopter squad and the 34th Service Battalion.
The Introduction Of The National Airport Policy
In 1994, following the new national airport policy being announced by Transport Canada, the ownership of the airport was transferred to a private corporation known asDéveloppement de l'aéroport Saint-Hubert de Longueuil.
The National Airports Policy was a program introduced by the Government of Canada during the 90s. The plan involved the privatisation of nearly all of the countries airports.
Canada also privatised its air traffic control and air navigation systems around the same time, placing them under the supervision of a private company called Nav Canada.
Nav Canada is a privately operated, not-for-profit corporation that now owns and operates the civil air navigation system, also known as ANS in Canada.
The primary runway at the airport has been reconstructed since its military days to accommodate larger aircraft such as the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320. It is said to have cost around $17 to complete the upgrade.
More than $13m (£7.6m) of that was provided by the Canadian Government Airports Capital Assistance Program.
The upgrade to the airport marks the start of a development strategy that is set to see the airport become a regional transport hub for the Quebec area.