John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport was first built in October 1940 as a wartime air force training station. Originally designed as a multi-purpose military field, the airport was used for flight training, air navigation, telegraphy, and air gunnery. After World War II, the airport transitioned from a military establishment into a public facility.
Expanding the Hamilton Airport into a regional transportation hub was a dream of many Hamilton Politicians. John Munro, who was born in Hamilton in 1931, was instrumental in turning this dream into a reality.
In the early 1980’s Mr. Munro secured a $55 million federal investment to expand and develop Hamilton International Airport’s existing facilities. In 1981 construction to expand the existing airport began. The expansion plan consisted of:
- Construction of a new east-west runway
- New & improved taxiways
- An extended passenger aircraft apron
- New car parking facilities
- New passenger access roadway to the terminal
- Expanded air terminal building
- A new fire hall and emergency equipment
- Electrical, water and sewage services
Expansion to Hamilton Airport was complete by 1986 and the new facility attracted larger aircraft and accommodated increased passenger and cargo traffic.
On February 15, 1993, a devastating fire destroyed Hangar #3 and one of the Canadian Warplane Heritage hangars. As a result of the fire, and due to the importance and significance of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum (CWHM) in our community, Regional Council announced $12 million would be given to develop a new museum. The new CWHM opened its doors to the public on March 2, 1996.
In 1996, local businessman and builder, Tony Battaglia of WestPark Developments, along with the operational expertise of the Vancouver Airport Authority, Tradeport International Corporation Ltd. were selected by the City of Hamilton to manage and operate the Hamilton International Airport.
In the period since that first expansion in 1981, Hamilton International has grown to become Canada’s largest airport for domestic air-cargo distribution, a commercial passenger airport for the greater Hamilton area and a strong economic driver for the city and region.