Hamilton International Airport Overview
John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport (IATA: YHM, ICAO: CYHM), simply known as Hamilton International Airport or sometimes Toronto Hamilton International Airport, is an international airport in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The airport is part of the neighbourhood of Mount Hope, 6 nautical miles (11 km; 6.9 mi) southwest of Downtown Hamilton and 64 km (40 mi) southwest of Toronto. The airport serves the city of Hamilton and adjacent areas of Southern Ontario, including the Greater Toronto Area. The airport is sometimes considered as a reliever for Toronto Pearson International Airport.
The airport opened in 1940 as Mount Hope Airport, which was primarily a Royal Canadian Air Force base. The end of World War II saw the closure of the base, and its conversion to civil use attracted regional and international passenger services with connections to major Canadian cities and seasonal destinations. Regular services to the U.S. ceased as nearby Buffalo Niagara International Airport gained popularity for cross-border travellers in the region, but Hamilton remained an important base for a number of domestic and transatlantic low-cost carriers.
Hamilton is designed for use by large airplanes on overseas flights, and includes a 10,006 ft × 200 ft (3,050 m × 61 m) asphalt runway with centreline lighting for low-visibility operations, and a smaller 6,010 ft × 150 ft (1,832 m × 46 m) asphalt runway. It is classified as an airport of entry by Nav Canada and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). As Canada’s “largest overnight express cargo airport,” Hamilton handles large cargo operations with aircraft such as the Boeing 747 or Antonov An-124. The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum is located adjacent to the airport.
Secondary airport for Toronto
Since the 1970s, Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) and the Government of Canada planned a second international airport for Toronto in Pickering, Ontario to act as an official relief airport for Toronto-Pearson. Supporters of the plan argued that Hamilton is too far from Toronto to be a reliever, while the opposers pointed out that relief airports for Logan International Airport in Boston (T. F. Green State Airport and Manchester-Boston Regional Airport), for example, are farther from Downtown Boston than Hamilton Airport is from Downtown Toronto.
In October 2017, the Pickering City Council supported the development of an airport in Pickering during its joint-bid with the rest of Greater Toronto to host Amazon HQ2. However, a GTAA report in December 2017 suggested that an airport in Pickering was not necessary at the moment and that Pearson can meet demand until 2037.
Hamilton charges 30 to 50 per cent lower fees to airlines than Pearson and its compact size makes travel quicker for passengers and allows aircraft to spend less time on the ground.