10 May 2012

Montreal Mirabel Airport Abandoned

Montreal Mirabel Airport was opened in 1975 and was the largest airport ever envisaged until King Fahd International Airport in Saudi Arabia was built. It was designed to replace the existing Dorval Airport which was said to be nearing capacity and all international flights were required to use what was described as Canada’s eastern gateway.

The Olympics in 1976 gave Montreal a huge boost however immediately problems began to emerge with the new airport, most notably the distance to Downtown Montreal and without the promised high speed rail line being built, it sometimes took over an hour to get into the city. There was also the problem of domestic flights remaining in the existing Dorval airport meaning connections required a bus journey between the two.

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. Montreal subsequently dropped behind Toronto and Vancouver in terms of passenger numbers and by 1997, Dorval Airport was re-opened to International flights.

The airport began to decline rapidly and the last flight was an Air Transat flight to London in 2004 and after that the passenger terminal closed, becoming the set of the Tom Hanks film The Terminal. There were plans to turn the airport into a theme park however these have fallen through and it remains abandoned to this day.

Location: Montreal, Canada

Category: Airport

Abandoned: 2004


  1. Such a waste. All this infrastructure not being used because of its hour distance from the city, just doesn't make sense.

    1. I've been informed recently that there are talks about a return of scheduled services. Not sure what building will be used for the terminal facilities though?

  2. Mirabel was used for location/exterior shooting for The Terminal. The set was actually built in a hangar in Los Angeles.

  3. Was also used for the film Warm Bodies.


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