When it opened in 1975, it was promoted as the airport of the 21st century.
Now, just 14 years into the century, Mirabel International Airport’s sprawling passenger terminal is to be unceremoniously demolished.
It is the final, literal blow to the sleek, black-glass terminal. The airport staged its last commercial flight in late 2004 after failing miserably to live up to its billing as the “gateway” to air travel in Canada.
International media dubbed Mirabel “one of the great white elephants of aeronautics history.” Capacity at its peak was 2.8 million passengers a year, well off the 50-million target.
Aéroports de Montréal, the non-profit authority that runs Trudeau International Airport and is responsible for Mirabel’s upkeep, said on Thursday that it will put out tenders for the demolition of the terminal and its adjoining parking structure.
The building is outdated, unoccupied and no longer worth trying to save, ADM president James Cherry said.
ADM has spent more than $30-million on basic maintenance since the terminal’s 2004 closure and another $15-million is needed for emergency repairs, he said.
The decision to tear down the structure comes after about 10 years of efforts to find an alternate use for the massive building, ADM said in a news release Thursday.
The authority thought it had a solution in 2006, when it announced plans for the construction of an amusement park on the site, but the plan fell through.
Meanwhile, the infrastructure at Mirabel Airport – about 55 kilometres northwest of Montreal – has found new life as a busy hub for aerospace manufacturing and testing.
Bombardier Inc. is building its new C Series jetliner there, Pratt & Whitney has an engine-testing facility and several other companies have set up operations.