Montréal Mirabel Airport is an abandoned cargo and former international passenger airport in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada, located 21 nautical miles northwest of Montreal. We prepared 20 photos made at Mirabel Airport just after it was closed and before terminal building demolished.
Opened in 1975, Montreal Mirabel Airport had the largest surface area of any airport in the world. It was supposed to accommodate nearly 40 million passengers per year by the year 2000. However, for a variety of reasons, this grand vision never materialized. The airport never handled more than 3 million passengers annually, and in 2004, it was closed for passenger traffic.
In the 1960s, Montréal was Canada’s largest city and the third-largest city in North America after New York and Chicago. In 1970, Montréal was selected as the host of the 1976 Olympic Games and new Mirabel Airport meant to solve the problems of Montreal’s overcrowded Dorval Airport (now Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport).
At the time, Mirabel Airport was regarded as the most modern airport in the world. Located far from town and surrounded by farmland and forest, it could operate 24 hours per day without disturbing local communities. Grand designs were drawn up and in the mid-seventies, it was seen as revolutionary in terms of airport planning.
The Mirabel Airport was the world’s largest airport by property area, a record which it retained until 1999, when King Fahd International Airport near Dammam in Saudi Arabia surpassed Mirabel.
A number of factors contributed to Mirabel Airport’s decline. First, the major oil crisis of 1973–1974 raised the cost of air travel. Moreover, the rail to airport was never constructed and the highway ended before the airport. Mirabel became too inconvenient for travelers and airlines, all of whom preferred Dorval Airport. Passenger numbers never reached the predictions of 20 million, and slowly declined.
With the introduction of longer range jets, intercontinental flights no longer needed to stop in Mirabel and the airport failed to live up to what was imagined for it. All commercial traffic moved to Montréal-Trudeau following an expansion project beginning in February 2000 and Mirabel’s passenger terminal was abandoned.
On May 1, 2014, Aeroports de Montréal confirmed that Mirabel Airport’s terminal building would be demolished, citing its high maintenance cost as a reason. Demolition of the terminal building began in mid-November 2014 and was completed in August 2016.
On May 9, 2019, Aéroports de Montréal announced that the airport would be renamed as ‘YMX International Aerocity of Mirabel’ as part of ADM’s new branding. There are no longer any scheduled public operations at the airport.
As of 2022, Mirabel does have a passenger terminal for private flights as well as helicopter flights. In addition, Mirabel airport is now used for daily flights transporting employees for various mining companies by the Nolinor airline company.