THE AIRPORT WHOSE DEMISE WAS CAUSED BY RAIL ABSENCE.

Around the closure of Mirabel, the following terminally clueless article showed-up in the Moronto Star :

From Toronto Star, 18 September 2004

Sep. 18, 2004. 09:37 AM

Requiem for an airport Montreal's Mirabel Airport was meant to take flying to new heights of luxury and efficiency

MONTREAL-If James Cherry were to write its epitaph, he'd say this about Mirabel Airport:

"It was a project that was doomed to fail."

Cherry, president of Aéroports de Montréal, the non-profit authority that now runs both of this city's major landing strips, says Mirabel was likely destined to die an early death before it even opened its gates in 1975.

"With the benefit of our hindsight, it was ill-conceived," he says.

Today, the cavernous terminal is almost always empty, and seems haunted by the possibilities that were once envisioned here.

In the glass cathedral of modernist architecture, you can still detect the magical momentum that gripped Montreal between Expo 67 and the 1976 Summer Olympics.

But like the denuded Expo site and the soon-to-be Montreal Expos-less Olympic Stadium, the Mirabel terminal is a mere vestige of long-gone ambitions.

And on Nov. 1, the facility, which was meant to be the central gateway for much of Canada's international air travel, handle up to 50 million passengers a year and take flying to new heights of luxury and efficiency, will instead make an ignominious landing in history's dustbin.

Closing to all passenger traffic at the end of October, the airport - which cost more than $1 billion to build and never handled more than 3 million travellers a year - will almost surely be remembered as one of the biggest government-sponsored boondoggles in the country's history.

Just 29 years after its controversial opening, the mammoth Mirabel, its limping demise as a passenger facility complete, will be pushed into the relatively minor role of cargo airport.

And its monolithic black terminal, a white elephant in 1970s smoked-glass cladding, will be mothballed, or made over into a racetrack, or exhibition hall, or casino, or retirement home, or one of a handful of the other fanciful proposals that have been circling the dying corpse.

The cabbie has a theory about Mirabel's imminent fall.

"It's a conspiracy," George says in heavily accented English.

According to his dark take on the upcoming closure, a group of politically connected landowners around Dorval airport, recently rechristened Pierre Elliott Trudeau International, brought pressure on city leaders to force all passenger traffic to the older landing facility at the west end of Montreal Island.

"These guys, they want to make a lot of money on their land because everyone will want to build around (an expanded) Dorval," George says.

"After that, they'll say, `hey Mirabel was right after all.' Then, it will come back"

But Mirabel, it's nearly certain, will never come back.

And the charge on George's meter is one major reason why.

It now costs $75 to travel by cab from Mirabel to a downtown hotel, some 55 kilometres to the south.

The airport's distance from the central city as well as from connecting flights at far-off Trudeau Airport have been crippling deterrents to Mirabel's success from the time it opened in the fall of 1975.

"The access to that site is a real problem," says Cherry, who notes that all of greater Montreal's 3.2 million inhabitants live well south of the facility.

"A lot of times it takes an hour and a half to get here, and the majority of air travellers these days are looking at flights of less than 2 1/2 hours."

But distance, the main knock against Mirabel for the bulk of Montreal-area travellers, is not the only reason the airport failed to thrive. Far from it.

Indeed, most experts would put Mirabel's location - it's literally surrounded by cornfields - a little down the list of its numerous shortcomings.

More than anything, perhaps, Mirabel is a victim of mistaken assumptions, of deluded 1960s notions about airline technologies, population and economic growth, passenger travel trends and political stability.

"If you look back at the assumptions they made about (Mirabel), were they sensible?" Cherry asks. "With the benefit of hindsight, they were stupid."

The airport's remote location itself was largely driven by flawed technological prognostications, says Jacques Roy, a transportation expert at the University of Montreal's HEC Montreal business school.

"At the time, the new planes that were being built were (supersonic) Concordes, which required long runways and were noisy and not very environmentally friendly," says Roy, who has studied Mirabel for more than two decades.

"So, the idea was to build an airport far away from the city centre and people."

The Concorde and its planned cousins, of course, never materialized as important or popular crafts in the world's airliner fleets, Roy says.

And the wide-body jets that instead came to dominate international travel over the ensuing decades were built to be far quieter and cleaner than their groundbreaking intercontinental predecessors, such as the noisy and noxious Boeing 707.

This new generation of jets, the Boeing 747 being the prototype, would prove to be far less objectionable to Montrealers living in the heavily populated Dorval area, where noise complaints provided one of Mirabel's raisons d'être.

More important, however, they also had the fuel capacity to pass over the city entirely.

"Before it was even opened in 1975, it could be demonstrated that Mirabel was no longer needed," Roy says.

The combination of longer-range jets and the increasing attractiveness of economically surging Toronto as a primary destination for European travellers through the 1970s made Mirabel's planned "gateway" status a hard sell from the get-go, Roy says.

`In the end, Mirabel was a compromise that really didn't work for anybody'
— Jacques Roy, University of Montreal

Long-range planes, coupled with passenger and airline demand for direct Toronto access, forced the federal transport ministry - which had long made European landings in Montreal mandatory - to allow a migration of international flights westward.

So, even as Ottawa was pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into Mirabel, airplane technologies and economic shifts were conspiring to make it obsolete, Cherry says.

"When Mirabel was conceived ... it was with the constraints that the technology would only let them fly as far as Montreal and that the Canadian government was going to force them to land in Montreal," he says.

"And as hard as it is for a Montrealer to admit this, the economic centre of gravity in this country has moved 350 miles west and so did the flights."

The airport's location, near the community of Mirabel, Roy says, was also a big mistake, the result of a fundamentally flawed compromise between the federal and Québec governments that satisfied no one in the end.

Roy, who wrote a study on Mirabel for the province in the mid-1980s, says Ottawa had originally intended the new facility to be the international airport for the Canadian capital as well. Thus, Transport Canada, he says, envisioned it being built to the west of Montreal.

The province, on the other hand, was looking to lure Quebec city travellers to the airport, and wanted it built to the east, near Drummondville, almost halfway between the two cities.

"In the end, Mirabel was a compromise that really didn't work for anybody and that nobody was excited about," Roy says.

Poor location and shifting economies helped ensure that subsequent Mirabel plans, which once envisioned the construction of five more terminal buildings on the site, would never be completed, he says.

Roy says Mirabel, which pushed some 3,500 farming families off about 40,000 hectares of land, also relied on erroneous predictions of passenger volumes that were based on the astronomical increases recorded in the 1960s.

For a variety of reasons, including the '70s oil crisis that peaked during Mirabel's construction, these passenger volumes never materialized. Passenger increases were curtailed even further by the flight of some 200,000 anglophones from Montreal after the 1976 election of the separatist Parti Québécois.

And yet another flawed technological decision made Mirabel less attractive still. The massive terminal was built with a mere six gates, Cherry says.

Instead of accessing the terminal directly from their planes, Mirabel passengers would be moved from the infield via a fleet of passenger transport vehicles (PTVs).

A sort of moving gate ramp, the PTVs could rise up, elevator-like, to a plane's doorways, lower passengers down to ground level and run like a bus to the terminal.

This process, however, could add as much as 40 minutes to a round trip, and quickly proved unpopular, Cherry says.

It didn't have to be this way.

Even with all of the unfortunate technical and economic baggage that was piled on the airport from its inception, Mirabel might still have been a success, Cherry says.

In particular, he says, its crippling remoteness from the city could have been mitigated by the promised road and rail infrastructure, which, for both political and economic reasons, never materialized.

"If they had built the (expected) access roads necessary, if they had built the dedicated train line, probably we would be having a very different discussion today," Cherry says.

Roy says the election of the PQ government in 1976 helped to put a stop to the planned access improvements that had been promised for Mirabel.

"I don't think they were very excited about throwing good money at completing infrastructure to Mirabel airport, which was something coming from the federal government."

Cherry also says a decision in the early 1980s to split air traffic between the city's two airports would prove "fatal" to Mirabel.

"The minute they moved the international airlines (to Mirabel) and left the domestic and transborder guys here (at Dorval), it killed any transfer business."

With transfer times between international and domestic flights being lowered in many modern airports to well under an hour, the 3 1/2-to four-hour gaps between Mirabel and Dorval flights became insupportable.

And now, it's far too late.

Cherry says assembling all of Montreal's passenger traffic at Mirabel today would have required the construction of at least one more runway and terminal, and cost the authority at least twice the $600 million it is now spending on its impressive expansion of Trudeau.

"And there would still be no guarantee that the province would build the required road and rail infrastructure it would need."

This accumulation of problems meant Mirabel's days were numbered when Cherry arrived as head of the airport authority in 2001.

"Montreal is a city that in my view ... was not large enough or important enough to sustain two airports," Cherry recalled thinking at the time.

"We were running $23 million a year deficits supporting the two airports and we very, very quickly came to the realization that it couldn't be sustained."

In 1997, at the insistence of the major airlines, all regularly scheduled international flights were transferred to the Dorval site, which had always retained the city's domestic and transborder activity.

With the movement of regular international flights to Dorval, a 30-minute cab ride from downtown, only charter flights have continued to provide passengers for the 1 million square foot Mirabel terminal.

And with just 75 flights during an average week and 800,000 passengers annually, the behemoth facility became a ghost of its former self.

And the Trudeau expansion, which should provide passenger capacity for Montreal for the next 35 or 40 years, makes a return to Mirabel a very poor bet.

"If we go back to Mirabel in 40 years, that terminal building that everybody keeps talking about will be 70 years old," Cherry says.

"It barely responds to aviation today. It certainly won't respond to civil aviation 35 or 40 years from now."

Such an anthology of blatant cluelessness could not go unpunished. Hence the following response. I double-dog date anyone to refute any of the points below.

Requiem for an airport
"It was a project that was doomed to fail."

Well, yes. By sucking-up to "interests" that whined to keep Dorval International BéBécosseopen for domestic flight, yes.

Dorval should have been closed 25 years ago, and all flights moved to Mirabel, AS ORIGINALLY PLANNED.

But no, english ghetto residents could not stomach driving to froggy-land to take a flight to go to the Mississauga branch office they were too incompetent to be transferred to. And partitionists believe that when Québec becomes independent, they'll cut-off the english ghetto of Montréal, complete with airport, to attach it to canada. Froggies don't need an airport.

  And on Nov. 1, the facility, which was meant to be the central
...
efficiency, will instead make an ignominious landing in history's dustbin.

As a monument of petty local political interference.

Closing to all passenger traffic at the end of October, the airport - which cost more than $1 billion to build and never handled more than 3 million travellers a year - will almost surely be remembered as one of the biggest government-sponsored boondoggles in the country's history.

It's not a boondoggle; its was stupenduous foresight, the kind of foresight only Johnny Walker scotch could imprint on a brain.

Despite piddling political interference by the usual clueless incompetent family-compact who haven't got a clue about modern engineering and how high-technology markets operate (yes, this is a pique agasint the west-island ghetto residents, Montréal's rearguard when it comes to PROGRESS), Montréal is the WORLD AEROSPACE CAPITAL. Nowhere else in the world can one find all the components for an aircraft.

With Mirabel up-the-sticks, this paved the way for a momentous aerospace complex; no doubt that more aerospace manufacturers than the current Canadair and Bell Helicopter would have congregated there.

The cabbie has a theory about Mirabel's imminent fall.

"It's a conspiracy," George says in heavily accented English.

According to his dark take on the upcoming closure, a group of politically connected landowners around Dorval airport, recently rechristened Pierre Elliott Trudeau International, brought pressure on city leaders to force all passenger traffic to the older landing facility at the west end of Montreal Island.

Total poppycock. But what do you expect from a cabbie? If landowners would have had a conspiracy, it would exactly be the REVERSE. Closing Dorval would have opened up virgin new land for development. Can one imagine the current WORTH of all the land used-up by Dorval International Bécosse??

But Mirabel, it's nearly certain, will never come back.

And the charge on George's meter is one major reason why.

It now costs $75 to travel by cab from Mirabel to a downtown hotel, some 55 kilometres to the south.

The airport's distance from the central city as well as from connecting flights at far-off Trudeau Airport have been crippling deterrents to Mirabel's success from the time it opened in the fall of 1975.

Heck! They never built highway 13 to the airport, nor did they extend the Montréal_Deux-Montagnes rail line to the terminal, where the space earmarked for the train station was used as a employee parking.

Heck, the train station was to have been RIGHT UNDER THE PASSENGER TERMINAL, a mere 2 escalator ride to the airline counters or from the carrousels. Of course, with a train going straight to Central Station, who would have bothered with a cab-ride??? Here is the ultimate irony: the SUPER-DUPER airport of the future that was thought by the most rail-hostile minds ever (the Transport-Canada bureaucrats)WAS DOOMED BY NOT HAVING THE RAIL LINE EXTENDED TO SERVE IT!!!

How is that for stupidity???

As a matter of fact, had Mirabel have had the rail line, Dorval would closed. And older ghetto residents would wonder how did they put-up with an airport before...

  "The access to that site is a real problem," says Cherry, who notes that all of greater Montreal's 3.2 million inhabitants live well south of the facility.

  "A lot of times it takes an hour and a half to get here, and the majority of air travellers these days are looking at flights of less than 2 1/2 hours."

Have we forgotten the free rectal exams given to passengers, courtesy of Dr Oussama Ben Laden????

Indeed, most experts would put Mirabel's location - it's literally surrounded by cornfields - a little down the list of its numerous shortcomings.

This was Mirabel's best feature. No one would have been bothered by the plane noise. I myself live near downtown Montréal, and the plane noise is quite annoying.

And the wide-open territory was perfect for expansion; the original plan provided for 5 more passenger terminals in 2015.

More than anything, perhaps, Mirabel is a victim of mistaken assumptions, of deluded 1960s notions about airline technologies, population and economic growth, passenger travel trends and political stability.

There we go! Blame the goddammed separatists who took power on November 15, 1976, a year after Mirabel was opened!!!

"If you look back at the assumptions they made about (Mirabel), were they sensible?" Cherry asks. "With the benefit of hindsight, they were stupid."

Only a shortsighted barrel-dipper would make such a statement. And in 20 years, when it will be time to re-open Mirabel (people won't put-up with aircraft noise forever), we'll all be happy to pop that Cherry.

The airport's remote location itself was largely driven by flawed technological prognostications, says Jacques Roy, a transportation expert at the University of Montreal's HEC Montreal business school.

Now, what does a guy teaching (he who can does, he who can't do, teaches) in an ACCOUNTING school knows about air traffic???

All he knows about is counting beans, for christ' sake!!!

"At the time, the new planes that were being built were (supersonic) Concordes, which required long runways and were noisy and not very environmentally friendly," says Roy, who has studied Mirabel for more than two decades.

"So, the idea was to build an airport far away from the city centre and people."   The Concorde and its planned cousins, of course, never materialized as important or popular crafts in the world's airliner fleets, Roy says.

But the old noisy jets were not replaced as US airlines were buying up other airlines instead of planes, thanks to deregulation. So our ears are split everyday when those old clunkers come and go to Dorval International Bécosse.

And the wide-body jets that instead came to dominate international travel over the ensuing decades were built to be far quieter and cleaner than their groundbreaking intercontinental predecessors, such as the noisy and noxious Boeing 707.

Never mind the widebody jets, it's the swarm of commuter aircraft and old clunking U.S. jets that are STILL the problem.

  This new generation of jets, the Boeing 747 being the prototype, would prove to be far less objectionable to Montrealers living in the heavily populated Dorval area, where noise complaints provided one of Mirabel's raisons d'?tre.

Dorval International Bécosse has a curfew. Imagine! An airport with a curfew!!! How intelligent! How smart! How swift!

More important, however, they also had the fuel capacity to pass over the city entirely.

And go straight to Toronto. Yup. Airlines deserted Montréal because of the assininely stupid decision to keep Dorval International Bécosse operating, thus making transfers total hell.

All to satisfy a little bunch of rhodesians who live in the Montréal west-island ghetto!!!!

"Before it was even opened in 1975, it could be demonstrated that Mirabel was no longer needed," Roy says.

The combination of longer-range jets and the increasing attractiveness of economically surging Toronto as a primary destination for European travellers through the 1970s made Mirabel's planned "gateway" status a hard sell from the get-go, Roy says.

There is nothing in Toronto. Toronto never has been a "natural" hub, from canoe days to airline days. It was only political interference and desire to harm Québec which dared not be like "any other province", especially though meddling by a little bunch of rhodesian misfits from the Montréal west-island ghetto, all people who never have accepted the fact that Québec is french. Shit, those fuckers were born in Montréal, the second largest french city in the world, yet they don't speak a single fucking word of french!!! And they have the fucking balls to say that the french are "intolerant"... Fucking pricks!!!

`In the end, Mirabel was a compromise that really didn't work for anybody'
— Jacques Roy, University of Montreal

Long-range planes, coupled with passenger and airline demand for direct Toronto access, forced the federal transport ministry - which had long made European landings in Montreal mandatory - to allow a migration of international flights westward.

Well, of course. The federal government never acts to protect Québec's interests, but sucks-up very well to orangist ontario's. Too bad we didn't wake-up earlier and stopped voting Liberal 10-15 years sooner... Jeeesus christ, that fucking party is moribund without Québec support!

So, even as Ottawa was pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into Mirabel, airplane technologies and economic shifts were conspiring to make it obsolete, Cherry says.

It's not technology and economic shifts. It was just political meddling and the archstupid decision to keep Dorval International Bécosse operating. Fuck! If there's enough business for Dorval today, there would be enough business for Mirabel today!!!

"When Mirabel was conceived ... it was with the constraints that the technology would only let them fly as far as Montreal and that the Canadian government was going to force them to land in Montreal," he says.

For 500 years, Montréal was a natural transportation hub. Today, it still is the largest inland harbour, and it sees millions of containers going though.

Toronto, on the other hand, is right besides a big fucking lake, where one does not need to even stop when going further inland.

"And as hard as it is for a Montrealer to admit this, the economic centre of gravity in this country has moved 350 miles west and so did the flights."

Er, not really. Toronto controls only 25% of the industrial equity in Canada. Montréal controls 35%. This is mostly because Montréal has more big companies head-offices, Toronto being peppered with small businesses who have much less equity.

The airport's location, near the community of Mirabel, Roy says, was also a big mistake, the result of a fundamentally flawed compromise between the federal and Quebec governments that satisfied no one in the end.   Roy, who wrote a study on Mirabel for the province in the mid-1980s, says Ottawa had originally intended the new facility to be the international airport for the Canadian capital as well. Thus, Transport Canada, he says, envisioned it being built to the west of Montreal.

Well, it had to cater to Ontario, didn't it?

The province, on the other hand, was looking to lure Quebec city travellers to the airport, and wanted it built to the east, near Drummondville, almost halfway between the two cities.

I mean, sinking all those FEDERAL dollars just to benefit those goddammed frogs, no way!!!

"In the end, Mirabel was a compromise that really didn't work for anybody and that nobody was excited about," Roy says.

30 years later, Mirabel is still the BEST-DESIGNED airport in the world. One can walk as little as 100 feet between the curb and the aircraft seat. And if you start from the furthest reach of the parking, you can walk as little as 500 feet. If the rail link was brought to the airport, from your airplane seat, you could have walked less than 1000 feet to hundreds of downtown offices.

In Montréal International Bécosse you have to walk through endless corridors. There are **NO** corridors in Mirabel.

Contrast to Dorval International Bécosse maze of corridors (below):

Can you imagine how hellish it will be to walk from the furthest part of the yellow part to your car in the parking lot, given that the only entrance and exit doors in the Airport are at number 1???

Poor location and shifting economies helped ensure that subsequent Mirabel plans, which once envisioned the construction of five more terminal buildings on the site, would never be completed, he says.

Roy says Mirabel, which pushed some 3,500 farming families off about 40,000 hectares of land, also relied on erroneous predictions of passenger volumes that were based on the astronomical increases recorded in the 1960s.

The land is reserved for expansion, and to prevent mushroom-suburbs that eventually force the airport to have a curfew from sprouting near the runways.

Now, that's foresight!!! As of september 2004, Dorval International Bécossehas a curfew, gentlemen. Mirabel hasn't any curfew. Nor corridors.

For a variety of reasons, including the '70s oil crisis that peaked during Mirabel's construction, these passenger volumes never materialized. Passenger increases were curtailed even further by the flight of some 200,000 anglophones from Montreal after the 1976 election of the separatist Parti Québécois.

Good riddance. We don't need problem citizens who work against the country. . Too bad that they still managed to meddle and keep Dorval International Bécosse operating, thus crippling Mirabel.

And yet another flawed technological decision made Mirabel less attractive still. The massive terminal was built with a mere six gates, Cherry says.

WHAT???? THERE ARE MORE THAN 32 GATES IN MIRABEL!!!

On the right, this is the ARRIVAL sections, with 14 (fourteen) gates plainly visible. The photographer is standing halfway accross the airport, showing how little passengers have to walk from the gate to the outside!!!


Instead of accessing the terminal directly from their planes, Mirabel passengers would be moved from the infield via a fleet of passenger transport vehicles (PTVs).

A sort of moving gate ramp, the PTVs could rise up, elevator-like, to a plane's doorways, lower passengers down to ground level and run like a bus to the terminal. 

This process, however, could add as much as 40 minutes to a round trip, and quickly proved unpopular, Cherry says.

THIS IS THE WHOLE BEAUTY WITH MIRABEL, THIS IS WHAT MAKES MIRABEL THE MOST PERFECT AIRPORT IN THE WORLD!!! THIS IS WHAT ALLOWS MIRABEL TO DISPENSE WITH OPPRESSIVE, TIRING, UNSIGHTY, ANNOYING, DULL AIRPORT CORRIDORS!!!!

It didn't have to be this way.

  Even with all of the unfortunate technical and economic baggage that was piled on the airport from its inception, Mirabel might still have been a success, Cherry says.

If they have had closed Dorval International Bécosse AS PLANNED!!!!

  In particular, he says, its crippling remoteness from the city could have been mitigated by the promised road and rail infrastructure, which, for both political and economic reasons, never materialized.

DUH! The usual stupid federal/provincial buck-passing at work, again.

  "If they had built the (expected) access roads necessary, if they had built the dedicated train line, probably we would be having a very different discussion today," Cherry says.

NO FUCKING SHIT! Don't forget also to close Dorval International Bécosse!!!

Roy says the election of the PQ government in 1976 helped to put a stop to the planned access improvements that had been promised for Mirabel.

"I don't think they were very excited about throwing good money at completing infrastructure to Mirabel airport, which was something coming from the federal government."

Heaven forbids people democratically electing governments to look after it's best interests.

WHAT A FUCKING BUNCH OF PATERNALISTIC COLONIAL BULLSHIT!!!!!

  Cherry also says a decision in the early 1980s to split air traffic between the city's two airports would prove "fatal" to Mirabel.

  "The minute they moved the international airlines (to Mirabel) and left the domestic and transborder guys here (at Dorval), it killed any transfer business."

It's about time that Mr. Genius' brain kicked into gear!!!!

  With transfer times between international and domestic flights being lowered in many modern airports to well under an hour, the 3 1/2-to four-hour gaps between Mirabel and Dorval flights became insupportable.

  And now, it's far too late.

NO IT'S NOT TOO LATE.

Close Dorval International Bécosse parcel the land, and with the proceeds, extend the Montréal_Deux-Montagnes line to the passenger terminal.

  Cherry says assembling all of Montreal's passenger traffic at Mirabel today would have required the construction of at least one more runway and terminal, and cost the authority at least twice the $600 million it is now spending on its impressive expansion of Trudeau.

The land occupied by Dorval International Bécosseis worth far more than $600 million. And the tax revenues for the city would be far greater than the pittance the Bécosse currently pays.

  "And there would still be no guarantee that the province would build the required road and rail infrastructure it would need."

Hello? Anybody home? Have you seen how ridership is rising on the Montréal commuter trains since the Agence Métropolitaine de Transport has taken over operations???

This accumulation of problems meant Mirabel's days were numbered when Cherry arrived as head of the airport authority in 2001.

Well, yes! Cherry had to work for the very limited and special interest groups that pull his strings. He sure doesn't have the public welfare at heart; he works for the fringe groups who conspired to keep Dorval International Bécosse open.

  "Montreal is a city that in my view ... was not large enough or important enough to sustain two airports," Cherry recalled thinking at the time.

Well, why wasn't it thought 25 years ago when it was time to close Dorval International Bécosse??

  "We were running $23 million a year deficits supporting the two airports and we very, very quickly came to the realization that it couldn't be sustained."

  In 1997, at the insistence of the major airlines, all regularly scheduled international flights were transferred to the Dorval site, which had always retained the city's domestic and transborder activity.   With the movement of regular international flights to Dorval, a 30-minute cab ride from downtown, only charter flights have continued to provide passengers for the 1 million square foot Mirabel terminal.

30 minutes? Not in rush-hour!!!! 30 minutes maybe to get to the highway from the airport, thanks to the notorious Dorval circle...

And with just 75 flights during an average week and 800,000 passengers annually, the behemoth facility became a ghost of its former self.

  And the Trudeau expansion, which should provide passenger capacity for Montreal for the next 35 or 40 years, makes a return to Mirabel a very poor bet.

35 years? More like 20. $600 million spent for nothing. That $600 million would have brought the train to Mirabel.

"If we go back to Mirabel in 40 years, that terminal building that everybody keeps talking about will be 70 years old," Cherry says.

  "It barely responds to aviation today. It certainly won't respond to civil aviation 35 or 40 years from now."

It was designed from the start to respond for 50 years.

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