Montreal-Trudeau Airport | Takeoff of an “ambitious” plan for fluidity

Taken by surprise by the mass return of travelers after the pandemic trough, Aéroports de Montréal will propose this Thursday an “ambitious” plan of 4 billion to resolve the accessibility problems which have so angered passengers here and abroad. elsewhere at Montréal-Trudeau last year.

Addition of parking lots, new boarding gates, tripled capacity of the landing stage: the plan will be spread over four years.

“We are in a race. (…) In 2028, I assure you, we will be in another reality. We will have made enormous progress,” the president and CEO of Aéroports de Montréal (ADM), Yves Beauchamp, will argue this Thursday in a much-anticipated speech to the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal and that The Press obtained.

Mr. Beauchamp will detail how ADM intends to tackle the problems that have plagued the airport since the pandemic and which have led to enormous congestion at the airport gates.

It must be said that pitfalls are piling up at the Montreal airport. Queues for cars or buses are getting longer, as are waiting times at customs, causing a lot of frustration.

And several observers fear that the worst is yet to come: four million more travelers are expected in 2028.

“The months to come will not always be easy,” Mr. Beauchamp will warn in this presentation expected in the business community. Because time is running out. His group has “four years to be able to accommodate four million more people than today”.


In 2023, the Montreal airport recorded record traffic of more than 21 million passengers, a jump of 32% compared to 2022 and 4% compared to 2019, a pre-pandemic year. The summer of 2023 was particularly busy, with an increase of 8% compared to the summer season of 2019. The airport authority expects to receive 25 million travelers by 2028.

Major works

To meet this challenge, infrastructure will have to grow. Already, at the end of February, the new P4 parking lot with 2,800 spaces and four floors was inaugurated. By 2026, another large multi-storey parking lot must be built on the site of the current P11, to the east of the terminal, near the Côte-de-Liesse axis. It will offer around 3000 places.


During the year 2026, when this new parking lot is completed, “we will demolish the current 5,000-space parking lot which is approaching the end of its useful life,” says Mr. Beauchamp. This will free up space and make it possible to build two new landing stages, with four lanes each, all on two levels. Road access will then be redeveloped in 2027 and 2028.

“Subsequently, we will destroy the current landing stage to build a new one, also with four lanes. Ultimately, we will have almost tripled the capacity on this infrastructure,” adds Yves Beauchamp, who sees it as “the lasting solution to the congestion issues on the airport site.”


What the Montreal-Trudeau airport could look like by 2035, once all the developments are completed.

By 2035, the airport would also plan numerous developments, green spaces and roofs, public squares and huge pedestrian crossings, show images which will be made public by ADM this Thursday. Other “major projects” are also being studied over this 11-year period, including an extension of the current airport terminal and the reconstruction of the P5 parking lot.

Towards a “satellite jetty”

The airport itself will also need to become larger to support growing demand. By 2028, ADM is committed to building a “satellite pier”, a new terminal in the shape of a pier which will allow planes to park outside to board travelers.

The structure would be located not far from the current departure gates and would allow easy access to the airport. It is not yet known how many planes will use this new pier at the same time, but its purpose will be to relieve the pressure on the main terminal.


Model of the future “satellite pier”

“On the terminal side, we will also improve the baggage handling facilities, all according to a sequence well defined by our teams,” promises Mr. Beauchamp, who also plans to add parking lots. distant planes to attract more carriers.

Our game plan is ambitious, I agree, but we know that we will be able to carry out these major works on time and within our ability to pay.

Excerpt from the speech by Yves Beauchamp, President and CEO of Aéroports de Montréal

In total, this plan will require investments of around $4 billion, a sum which is likely to be financed mainly by ADM. That said, the organization does not close the door to private capital, such as pension funds, to finance the construction of infrastructure. “We agree and believe that this development tool will be necessary in the future,” writes Mr. Beauchamp on this subject.

The organization also does not hide its intention to “vary the methods of implementation taking into account the complexity of the issues, the interdependencies with other projects and the sharing of risks with entrepreneurs”. In March, The Press revealed that a vast government reform on the methods of carrying out projects is looming on the horizon. “Collaborative” modes, which share financial risks, are expected to multiply throughout Quebec.

A wall to avoid

In the immediate future, the airport management intends to offer free access to all its parking lots during the summer season, for a maximum duration of 40 minutes. Good year, bad year, around 25% of the cars circulating on the main landing stage are occupied by people who go around in circles until a passenger arrives.

In May, an express drop-off point will be installed at the new P4 parking lot. A second express drop-off point must also be built near Côte-de-Liesse this spring. Both structures will be served by shuttles, with travel times of approximately 5 minutes to the main landing stage.

By 2027, the arrival of the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) branch will also change the situation at the airport. ADM is also planning to create a direct link between the airport and the REM des Sources station, from the end of 2024, by means of shuttles. The journey would take around ten minutes.


Cars at the landing stage of the Montreal-Trudeau airport

At the University of Montreal, transportation planning expert Pierre Barrieau believes that Trudeau Airport “is becoming an airport of international importance in terms of services.” YUL has in fact 157 direct destinations, including 87 international; Seoul and Marrakech will be added in 2024.

“The question is whether the physical equipment of the airport will follow. And the answer, for now, is unfortunately no. Everything is to the brim and then some. Increasing capacity at the airport is fundamental to ensuring its competitiveness and development,” judges Mr. Barrieau.

He hopes to see ADM “stop making small solutions for the next five years”, but rather give “a real shovel for the next quarter of a century, with a vast development plan”. A larger “extension” of the airport is also in preparation, according to our information.

“There is a wall in front of us, we don’t really know how far away, but we know it is there. We will have to make important choices in the coming years,” judges Jacques Roy, professor specializing in transport management at HEC Montréal. He recalls that “the ultimate capacity will be that of the tracks”. “Eventually, during rush hour, we will run out of capacity at the rate it is progressing,” he fears.

Learn more

  • 2800
    Number of suitcases that are processed every hour, on average, at Trudeau Airport. Domestic and international baggage capacity has increased by nearly 30% in the past year.


    40 million
    Investments this year made it possible to install a new imaging device, a fifth, and to set up a new search room with 10 stations. Some 180 check-in terminals have also been added.



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