Region of Waterloo International Airport

Region of Waterloo International Airport or Kitchener/Waterloo Airport (IATA: YKF, ICAO: CYKF) is an international airport serving the Regional Municipality of Waterloo in Woolwich, Ontario, Canada, west of Toronto. It has year round daily flights to Edmonton, Vancouver, Victoria, Winnipeg, Calgary, Orlando, Halifax, Fort Lauderdale and Kelowna through Flair Airlines and WestJet. It also has seasonal flights to Cancun through Sunwing Airlines and Flair Airlines.

Region of Waterloo International Airport
Waterloo International Airport logo.svg
Region of Waterloo International Airport.JPG
Airport typePublic
OperatorRegional Municipality of Waterloo, Ontario
ServesTri-Cities, Ontario
Guelph, Ontario
LocationWoolwich, Ontario
Focus city forFlair Airlines
Pivot Airlines
Time zoneEST (UTC−05:00)
 • Summer (DST)EDT (UTC−04:00)
Elevation AMSL1,054 ft / 321 m
Coordinates43°27′39″N 080°22′43″W / 43.46083°N 80.37861°W / 43.46083; -80.37861Coordinates: 43°27′39″N 080°22′43″W / 43.46083°N 80.37861°W / 43.46083; -80.37861
CYKF is located in Ontario
Location in Ontario
CYKF is located in Canada
CYKF (Canada)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
08/26 7,003 2,135 Asphalt
14/32 4,103 1,251 Asphalt
Statistics (2021)
Aircraft movements133,293

The airport is classified as an airport of entry by Nav Canada and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). CBSA officers at this airport can handle any general aviation aircraft up to 180 people with two hours prior notice.[1]

The terminal building has an international/domestic lounge. There are two separate baggage carousel, one for domestic and the other international. There are four gates (one international, one domestic arrivals, two domestic departures) at this terminal to handle scheduled flights. There is a licensed sit-down eating area and a vending area for people travelling through the airport.


The airport was previously named Waterloo Regional Airport, but it changed its name in March 2004 after Northwest Airlines announced that it would run daily flights to Detroit.

Construction began on the Kitchener-Waterloo Municipal Airport, also known as Lexington Airport, in 1929 on the Heinrich farm on Lexington Road in Waterloo. The towns of Kitchener and Waterloo and the Ontario Equitable Life and Accident Insurance Company acquired the lands to build a land and water airport facility. Completed in 1930, the airfield was mainly used for flying instruction.[4] The airport had two grass runways (1,800 ft [550 m] and 2,000 ft [610 m]) on 83 acres (34 ha) on southeast side of Lexington Road.[5]

Gilles Air Service began to operate from the airfield from 1930 to 1932 and was succeeded by Kitchener-Waterloo Flying Club from 1932 to 1951. During World War II civilian aviation ceased at the airfield and it was used by the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

At the end of the war there was a push for a larger and more appropriate place for private and commercial aviation in the area. In 1948 the Waterloo-Wellington Airport Commission acquired a larger site in Breslau, Ontario area and a new airfield was completed there in 1950.

The original airport was sold in 1951 to A.B. Caya and re-developed into a mixed residential and commercial area. The entrance to the former airport is now Lexington Park at 291 Lexington Road.

The new K-W Municipal Airport became a general aviation facility in 1969. From 1951 to 1973 the Waterloo-Wellington Flying Club ran the airport and then sold it to Waterloo Region and the City of Guelph. It became a publicly owned airport and was renamed Waterloo Regional Airport. Today it operates 24 hours, seven days a week.

The airport's former name, Waterloo Regional Airport, is now used by Waterloo Regional Airport in Waterloo, Iowa.

The terminal building

In November 2020, Waterloo was the busiest airport in Canada, owing to the continued operation of its flight-training businesses while much of Canadian aviation was shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario.[6]

Lexington Airport then and nowEdit

Using an aerial photograph A10055-8 1946 from the Geospatial Library at the University of Waterloo, it seems that the airport had two runways, crossing each other approximately in their middles. Runway 11/29 was 2,000 by 75 ft (610 by 23 m). Runway 01/19 was 1,800 by 125 ft (549 by 38 m). The threshold of 01 is in the parking lot of Sandowne Public School, the threshold of 19 is in the properties on Kane Drive, the threshold of 11 is on Bairstow Crescent and the threshold of 29 is in the properties on Dunvegan Drive opposite a playground. The current Lexington Park is between the thresholds of 11 and 19. The baseball diamond and soccer pitch at Lexington Park, 291 Lexington Road in Waterloo, are the site of the original hangar built in 1930. The airfield extended along the southeast side of Lexington Road to University Avenue.

A historical plaque near the entrance of Lexington Park describes the runways.[7]


In 2013, Waterloo was the 16th busiest airport in Canada by aircraft movements,[8] and underwent a major expansion in 2003. Starting in 2008, the airport started expanding again to accommodate larger aircraft on the aprons and taxiways; this includes widening the main apron 3, expanding apron 2 into apron 3, new widened taxiway alpha and Charlie taxiway off apron 2 to runway 08, and approach lighting on runway 26. In 2010, Taxiway Charlie was widened to prepare for a new development area called "LL4." A new General Manager recruited from the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, Chris Wood, was appointed in September 2009.

Northwest Airlines affiliate Mesaba Airlines flew to Detroit until June 2009.

In late 2005, major vacation charters (primarily to the Caribbean) began to operate during their peak season, notably Sunwing Airlines to Cancun.

WestJet launched daily flights to Calgary on 14 May 2007. This was initially labelled a seasonal service, but on 27 June 2007, WestJet announced that the flights continue year-round. WestJet also operated daily seasonal flights to Vancouver in the summer of 2010, but these did not continue in subsequent years.[citation needed]

Bearskin Airlines started daily non-stop flights to Ottawa on 1 October 2007, with onward connections to Northern Ontario, and added daily flights to Montreal beginning on 1 May 2011.[9] The Montreal flights ended in September 2012, and on 25 March 2014, Bearskin announced that they would terminate all scheduled service from the airport effective 1 April 2014. They continued to operate charter flights at the airport.[10]

On 13 December 2011, American Airlines announced new daily nonstop flights to Chicago beginning on 14 June 2012, the airport's first destination in the United States since 2009. The service was operated by Envoy under the American Eagle brand, using Embraer 145 jets.[11] On 22 June 2016, American Airlines announced they would be suspending flights effective 5 October 2016.[12]

In September 2013, Nolinor Aviation began three weekly and four every other week charter service from the airport to Mary River via Iqaluit with a Boeing 737-200 combi. This service was expected to bring $400,000 annually to the airport through landing and ramp fees with no additional costs to the region.

A brand new Air Traffic Control tower commenced operations on 27 September 2017, replacing the original tower built back in 1969. This tower is an additional 16 feet taller (80 feet) and 85 square feet bigger than the previous tower.

FlyGTA Airlines began flying twice daily between Waterloo and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on 6 November 2017.

Low-cost carrier Flair Airlines announced in February 2022 that they will begin serving thirteen domestic and international destinations in summer 2022. [13]

In April 2021, Waterloo Regional Council approved $44 million to further the expansion of the airport. As part of this expansion, the airport will get increased baggage handling capacity and larger departure lounges.[14]

The Waterloo Terminal as seen from Taxiway Bravo

Airlines and destinationsEdit

Flair Airlines Calgary, Cancún, Charlottetown, Deer Lake, Edmonton, Halifax, Kelowna,[15] Montréal–Trudeau, Vancouver, Winnipeg
Seasonal: Fort Lauderdale, Orlando/Sanford,[16] Victoria
Pivot Airlines Montreal–Trudeau, Ottawa[17]
Sunwing Airlines Seasonal: Cancún[18]
WestJet Calgary



  • Aerotech Aviation – private aircraft maintenance
  • Flightpath Charter Airways – charter and cargo operator
  • AirSprint – private business jet operator
  • Private Air – private business jet operator
  • Nav Canada – air traffic control services
  • Executive Aviation – ground handler for Westjet Airlines & Sunwing Airlines
  • Flite Line Services – fixed-base operator, fuel, ground handling[20]
  • Kitchener Aero Avionics – manufacturer and maintenance of avionics equipment
  • Rotor Services – helicopter maintenance, R22/R44 overhaul, leasing, pre-purchase inspections and flight training
  • Tri-City Aero – maintenance and repair of small private aircraft
  • Reliable Horse Power – custom aircraft engine overhauls and repairs
  • Summit Fuel Services
  • Chartright Air Group
  • National Car Rental
  • Avis Rent a Car System
  • Hertz car rental
  • Runways Café at WWFC – licensed restaurant
  • Aviator Cafe (by Edelweiss) – licensed food concession in terminal boarding (departure) lounge & arrivals lounge
  • Canada Border Services Agency
  • Royal Canadian Air Cadet Youth Development Centre, 822 Tutor Squadron – air cadets
  • Gyro Craft Aviation – gyroplane sales and rental

Flight training schoolsEdit

  • Adler Aviation – training centre for small propeller aircraft
  • Great Lakes Helicopter – small and medium utility helicopter training
  • Gyro Ontario – Ontario's only gyroplane flight training facility, working out of Great Lakes Helicopter training facility
  • Waterloo-Wellington Flight Centre (with links to Conestoga College and University of Waterloo)

Maintenance and emergency servicesEdit

The airport has service vehicles, including a dedicated snow plow, as well as their own fire suppression and rescue unit (two Oshkosh Striker 1500).[21]

Ground transportationEdit

A WestJet 737-700 plane at YKF

Local taxis, limousines and chartered buses provide ground transportation to and from the airport. Private cars park at three parking lots located at the airport. Parking pay stations are located at the main lot and in the terminal concourse area.

The main road to access the airport is Regional Road 17 or Fountain Street North. Fountain intersects with Highway 7 to the north (access to Waterloo and Guelph) or with Highway 401 to the south (access to London and Toronto). Connections to Kitchener became easier in 2013 with the extension of Fairway Road across the Grand River to Fountain Street.

Starting July 11, 2022, Grand River Transit, the public transit operator in the area, starts operating a flexible bus route in Breslau, including the airport. It operates as an on-demand bus service operating weekdays between 6am and 10am, 2pm and 6pm, and 10:45pm and 11:45pm. The bus route offers connection to Route 204 iXpress Victoria and Route 34 Bingemans at Victoria Street and Lackner Boulevard.[22]

See alsoEdit


The plaque at Lexington Park
  1. ^ a b Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 16 July 2020 to 0901Z 10 September 2020.
  2. ^ "Synoptic/Metstat Station Information". Archived from the original on 27 June 2013.
  3. ^ "Region of Waterloo International Airport (YKF) ranked the 6th busiest airport in Canada in 2021". 15 March 2022. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  4. ^ "Kitchener-Waterloo Airport Commission fonds".[dead link]
  5. ^ Connecting Waterloo Region to the world since 1929!
  6. ^ "Waterloo Int'l Airport was Canada's busiest in November, says StatsCan". CBC News. 29 January 2021.
  7. ^ Waterloo Historical Society (2000), Kitchener-Waterloo Municipal Airport Historical Plaque, 291 Lexington Road, Waterloo.
  8. ^ "Aircraft Movement Statistics: NAV CANADA Towers and Flight Service Stations: Annual Report (TP 577): Table 2-1 – Total aircraft movements by class of operation – NAV CANADA towers".
  9. ^ "Bearskin Airlines Takes Flight from Montreal to the Region of Waterloo International Airport" (PDF) (Press release). Bearskin Airlines. 22 March 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 August 2021.
  10. ^ CBC News Kitchener-Waterloo (25 March 2014). "Bearskin Airlines cancels all trips between Waterloo Region and Ottawa". CBC News. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  11. ^ "American Eagle Airlines Announces New Jet Service From Chicago O'Hare to Kitchener, Ontario" (Press release). American Airlines. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  12. ^ The Record (22 June 2016). "American Airlines pulls twice daily flights to Chicago from local airport". Metroland Media. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  13. ^ Global News (10 February 2021). "Flair Airlines to offer flights from Waterloo to destinations across Canada". Global News. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  14. ^ "ROW International Airport approved for $44M facelift".
  15. ^ "Where We Fly". Flair.
  16. ^ "Flair Airlines Continues Impressive Growth With Flights to the U.S, Bringing Ultra-Low Fares to Sun Destinations" (PDF). Flair.
  17. ^ "Pivot Airlines flights to Ottawa, Montreal from Waterloo Region to begin early next year". 28 October 2021.
  18. ^ "Sunwing returns to the Region of Waterloo this winter with convenient weekly flights to Cancun". 11 May 2021.
  19. ^ "Airlines". Region of Waterloo International Airport. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  20. ^ Services, Flite Line. "Flite Line Services > Home".
  21. ^ User, Sample HubSpot. "Waterloo International Airport – Ontario, Canada". {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  22. ^ "Route 79 Breslau". Grand River Transit. Retrieved 7 July 2022.

External linksEdit