The John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport has been transporting people and cargo for 75 years. On Saturday, the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum helped celebrate by allowing free access to explore the airport grounds as well as it’s history.
For most people, the airport is just a stopover until your adventure really begins. On it’s 75th anniversary, the Hamilton International Airport wanted to show the public that there’s a lot to see and learn before you take off.
“When most people go to an airport, all they usually do is check into the terminal, get on the airplane. So this gives them a look at behind the scenes at an airport.” said Al Mickeloff from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.
People got an upclose look at some of the vehicles, besides planes, that make an airport function. They also rode on the tarmac for a tour of the vast space. Back inside, people were taken on another ride, back in time.
“Lets have a free event. Come down and see the fantastic history we have on site at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.” said Lauren Yaksich.
Back in the 40’s, most people flying out of the Hamilton airport weren’t heading to vacation.
“It was a training base for all the pilots in the Commonwealth who were fighting in Europe.” said Mickeloff, where planes like the Lancaster bomber could be seen soaring through the skies in an effort to win the war.
After being restored in the 80’s, the Lanc has called the Hamilton airport home.
“We’ve been flying this airplane more than any airforce in the world. It’s been 27 years we’ve been flying this now.” said Lancaster pilot Leon Evans.
And it’s easily the most recognizable and beloved aircraft in Hamilton.
“I honestly don’t know why. The Hamilton people, they support the museum in so many different ways, but they really love the Lancaster, they really do.” said Lancaster pilot Bill Craig.
While the event is meant to celebrate 75 years of the Hamilton International Airport, it’s also meant to raise awareness to people that they don’t need to drive to Toronto or Buffalo to catch a flight.
Perhaps the event has also influenced some of it’s younger patrons to take to the skies.
“I’ve been seeing a lot of kids here and it seems they’re enjoying it quite a bit and that’s fantastic.” said Yaksich.
Last year the Hamilton airport saw passenger numbers drop slightly by just 3%.
With some new airlines expected to fly out of the airport in the next coming months, perhaps more people will join them.