Episode 15

Published on:

15th Apr 2022

Gander Airport's Role With Disasters

Seems like everything that happened in aviation during this time era, had a disastrous effect. EPA moves out of Gander creating a population void in the town. Gander is involved with 3 airlines incidents. First there is the Air India terrorist bombing over the Atlantic with 329 people on board becoming Canada’s largest mass killing, Then the Arrow Air crashing on departure from Gander killing all 256 on board being the largest in Canada to die in an airplane crash. Later in 1990, a B727 enroute to Gander has to ditch in the Atlantic due to lack of fuel. The Canadian government forces Gander airport to become a private authority having to finance its own maintenance and operation expenses. In 2001 the US airspace is closed because of a terrorist attack requiring 38 wide body aircraft to land at Gander in the space of a few hours without notice, with close to7000 passengers on board into a town with a population of less than 10, 000 people, where they remained for almost a week. The town & the airport performed beyond expectations

Show artwork for History of Gander

About the Podcast

History of Gander
The airport that started transatlantic air travel
The history of Gander airport, built in the wilderness of Newfoundland during the late 1930’s on the speculation that air travel between Europe and North America would evolve, with the only infrastructure, a narrow gauge railroad. The completion took two years to build just as the world entered into WWII. The timeliness of the airport’s construction led the airport playing a vital military role in being the anchor point of transitioning bomber type aircraft to Europe. Immediately at the end of the war, because of the success of flying large bombers across the Atlantic, the idea of commercial air travel was pursued with the Gander airport again playing a vital role for the refueling of aircraft that didn’t have the range to fly from one shore to the other. The requirement of people to service the needs of a busy airport led to another problem. There was no town for families to reside. The vacated military buildings built for the war effort were converted into livable dwellings and what was a military base now became a civilian town, located cheek by jowel to a very busy international airport. The airport town lasted until 1959 when a new modern town was built just a few kilometers to the North West of the airport.

This story will be told through discussions & interviews that better describe the anthropology and events of the past. Email us at "gahs.webster@gmail.com" for question or comments

About your hosts

Jack Pinsent

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Jack Pinsent, a retired air traffic controller, maintains a website collecting articles & photos of historical information about Gander airport. The purpose of the podcast is to support the website's information with more detailed facts. Visit our website http://www.ganderairporthistoricalsociety.org/

Terry Hart

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Terry Hart is a former radio broadcaster in NL, Canada, having spent over 45 years in the industry. He is the recipient of numerous news and other awards for Atlantic Canada and nationally, including the inaugural Broadcast News Award for news excellence in Atlantic Canada. Terry also interviewed world personalities like Fidel Castro, Soviet President Brezhnev, Muhammed Ali, Terry Fox and more. He has covered hijackings, the devastating Arrow Air Disaster at Gander International Airport, and other major events impacting Newfoundland and Labrador.