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Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport

Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport
Airport information
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorGovernment of Yukon
LocationWhitehorse, Yukon
Elevation706 m (2317 ft)
Aircraft movements30624

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Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport is located in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. It is part of the National Airports System, and is operated by the government of the Yukon Territory. The airport was renamed in honour of longtime Yukon Member of Parliament Erik Nielsen on December 15, 2008.

Built between 1940 and 1941 by the federal Department of Transport, it was transferred to the RCAF in 1942 as part of the Northwest Staging Route under the name of RCAF Station Whitehorse. It closed in 1968 and resumed the status as a civilian airport.

The airport is classified as an airport of entry by NAV CANADA and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency. CBSA officers at this airport currently can handle aircraft with no more than 50 passengers; however, they can handle up to 225 if the aircraft is unloaded in stages.

The airport has one fixed base operator for fuel, limited aircraft maintenance facilities. The control tower operates from 7 a.m. 9 p.m. local time, and the Whitehorse Flight Service Station provides Airport Advisory Service during the remaining hours. ARFF services are also provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In addition to scheduled commercial service, numerous small charter operators and bush pilots use the airport and it serves as a major base for water bombers used in forest firefighting operations. The airport also controls Whitehorse Water Aerodrome, a float plane base on Schwatka Lake.

Whitehorse is also a major stopover point for private flyers who make the trip to and from Alaska.

During the September 11, 2001, attacks, two aircraft approaching the United States from Asia were diverted to Whitehorse as part of Operation Yellow Ribbon; a Boeing 747 Korean Air Lines Flight 85 was feared hijacked but this was not the case — the plane was low on fuel. Many of the buildings in the downtown area below the airport were evacuated. Those who witnessed the plane's landing saw the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) order the crew out at gunpoint.

The airport's parking lot is graced by an old Canadian Pacific Airlines Douglas DC-3 on a pedestal that serves as a wind vane. That particular craft first served for the United States Army Air Force in southeast Asia during World War II, before being sold after the war for commercial airline service.

A new addition to the terminal is in the process of being built. It will help alleviate congestion with international flights.

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