The history of Fredericton’s aviation efforts dates back to before the establishment of the Fredericton Airport. A public seaplane base in Fredericton was officially recognized as a customs-licensed facility on the ‘List of Airharbours Available for Use’. Between 1920 and 1949, Fredericton‘s city officials attempted to set up a municipal airport. The first potential location, identified between 1930 and 1932, was Embleton, a spot three miles west of the city. By 1936, Nashwaaksis was under consideration to serve as a British Commonwealth Air Training Plan aerodome, but the Department of National Defence deemed the construction costs too high..
Mr. F. Harwick was granted the first private airport license in 1941 for a field in Barker’s Point. This airfield was designed for light aircraft and daytime operations. Harwick sought approval for airmail and passenger services the following year, but the location was deemed unsuitable. In the winter of 1945, the aerodrome lease passed to Mr. James Sturgeon, who received the license transfer in February 1946. Maritime Central Airways initiated operations with the ‘Lockheed 10’ aircraft from Barker’s Point field in autumn 1948. Mr. Gaetano Digiacinto took over the Barker’s Point Aerodrome from Sturgeon in April 1949, but the license expired in 1950 and was not renewed, leading the airfield to revert to farmland by December 1951.
Throughout this period, Fredericton’s city officials had been struggling to establish a community airport. They had failed to secure passenger and mail services from Barker’s Point, and after suggesting a site near Rusagonis, twelve miles from Fredericton, in 1943, no action was taken. The city requested another survey from Ottawa in March 1945, which identified a potential location in Lincoln, nine miles from Fredericton, in May. Cost comparisons between the Rusagonis and Lincoln sites led to the selection of the Lincoln site as the ideal location for an airport on April 25, 1947. The city formally seized the site in May 1948, and construction work commenced in September of that year.
The runway was sufficiently long by November 30, 1949, for Department of Transport officials to land. The second runway’s clearance began in January 1950. In March of the same year, an agreement was reached between the Department of Transport and the City of Fredericton: the Department would build the airport, while the city would construct the terminal and maintain and operate the airport. The city was issued an airport license on April 11, 1950. Starting from April 1951, the Department of Transport began to subsidize the airport, initially at a rate of five cents per square yard (covering 185,320 square yards), which was increased to six and a half cents per square yard in 1954.
The Fredericton Airport became operational in 1951, with the staff comprising an Airport Manager, an Attendant, and two Equipment Operators. By spring of the same year, the Department of Transport relocated its aeradio facilities from the old airport in Blissville to the Fredericton Airport, providing essential weather data to pilots. In 1956, full-time meteorologists were stationed at the airport.
By 1957, the financial strain of maintaining the airport prompted the city of Fredericton to propose a transfer of ownership to the Department of Transport. The airport’s growing demand necessitated expansions and construction, which were taxing the city’s resources. Consequently, the Department of Transport acquired the airport, including its land, buildings, installations, and equipment, for $118,000 on November 7, 1959.
Improvements to the airport continued in 1958, with the expansion of runway 15-33 to 6,000 feet and the installation of high-intensity approach and runway lights. The Instrument Landing System was installed in 1959, followed by the construction of a second taxiway and an extension to the aircraft ramp in 1961. Major expansion efforts kicked off in 1963, including a new terminal building, a maintenance garage, a firehall, a pump-house, an expanded water, sewage, and fire hydrant system, extended ramp areas, roads, and a car parking lot.
Negotiations for the airport’s privatization began in 1998 between the Fredericton Airport board and the Department of Transport. These led to the Greater Fredericton Airport Authority Inc. taking ownership of the airport in 2001.
The year 2005 marked a period of significant progress for the airport. Major upgrades to the terminal, including enhancement of the interior public space, were completed. An additional 8,500 square feet of space, known as the Pavilion, was added to the Air Terminal Building. The Pavilion, used for military operations, receiving large international flights, and other functions, became operational. Passenger volumes rose steadily throughout the year, with over 229,000 passengers using the airport.
In recognition of its international status and renaming of the airport, the Airport Authority was granted approval to change its name to the Fredericton International Airport Authority Inc. in 2009.
Fredericton International Airport is located in Lincoln,13 km southeast of Fredericton.
Over the years, Fredericton International Airport YFC has seen its share of VIP’s come and go.