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The reverse of this question is asked in Are there any privately owned large commercial airports?

I arrived at the YWG airport (Winnipeg), checked in, and went in to security. Already with my items on the conveyor belt, the security personnel tells me that my boarding pass was printed incorrectly (the seat number was wrong), and I have to come out to get it corrected. While they're working on it, I get told by the police that this airport is privately owned by Winnipeg Airports Authority, and the owner doesn't want me to fly. It's my first flight through this airport, and I am doing nothing wrong, but the owner of a private property is not required to give a reason; they simply say that if I come back another day, I will be allowed. There is no way to know in advance whether a given airport will allow me to board, and by now, I already lost roughly $500 and counting because of not being allowed to board. Since the airline is not involved, there are no laws applying to the situation. So, no flight rescheduling or compensation is required from the airline. And if I don't comply, I will be arrested for trespassing.

Is there any way to find out whether an airport is privately owned, so that this does not happen in the future? At least with a public airport, they would have to reveal their reason if they wanted to kick me out.

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  • $\begingroup$ If you're interested in trying to be made whole, your story as described above is the sort of thing that local news outlets would love: "innocent traveler kicked out of airport by capricious corporation". Might be worth contacting the local CBC, CTV, or Global affiliates. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 15:14
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    $\begingroup$ It sounds like you ended up on a no-fly list, and you probably have some work ahead to challenge it if you want to fly again. I doubt private vs public ownership is the issue, unless you got really rowdy at this particular airport and got banned from just this one location. Probably a better question for Legal or Travel SE. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 16:37
  • $\begingroup$ Could this be a case of mistaken identity? $\endgroup$
    – jwh20
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 17:29
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    $\begingroup$ An educated guess would be that the reason is related to the OP's previous experience with Customs and Border Patrol as described in the answer to this question: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/109183/… $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 18:48

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Privately owned airports are very much the exception than the rule in Canada. For starters,

All airports in the National Airports system, with the exception of the three territorial capitals, are owned by Transport Canada and leased to the local authorities operating them. The three territorial airports are owned and, with the exception of Iqaluit Airport, are operated by their respective territorial governments. Iqaluit is operated by Nunavut Airport Services, a subsidiary of Winnipeg Airport Services Corporation, which in turn is a subsidiary of Winnipeg Airports Authority.

In other words, all of the following airports (which handle the great majority of Canadian passenger traffic) are publicly owned:

  • AB: Calgary, Edmonton
  • BC: Kelowna, Prince George, Vancouver, Victoria
  • MB: Winnipeg
  • NB: Fredericton, Moncton, Saint John
  • NL: Gander, St. John's
  • NT: Yellowknife
  • NS: Halifax
  • NU: Iqaluit
  • ON: London, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Toronto-Pearson
  • PE: Charlottetown
  • QC: Montréal-Trudeau, Montréal-Mirabel, Québec City
  • SK: Regina, Saskatoon
  • YT: Whitehorse

Moreover, Transport Canada also owns several small airports in BC, Manitoba, Québec, and Newfoundland/Labrador.

Note that these are only the airports owned by the federal government; airports not appearing on the above lists may still be publicly owned. Out of the 20 busiest airports in Canada, there are three that are not on the above list, and none them are privately owned either:

  • Abbotsford Airport is owned by the City of Abbotsford.
  • Waterloo Airport is owned by the Regional Municipality of Waterloo.
  • Toronto-Bishop is owned by PortsToronto. (This is not exactly public ownership, but it's not private ownership either.)
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  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, should've mentioned this in the question. This occurred in the MB: Winnipeg airport. I was told that the private entity owner is called Winnipeg Airports Authority, and the head of this authority can make such decisions. Already updated the question. $\endgroup$
    – Alex
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Alex: From what I can tell, the Winnipeg Airport Services Corp. operates the airport under a lease agreement with their parent corporation, the Winnipeg Airports Authority. They don't actually own it. You might want to update the title of your question to reflect this distinction. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ I do wish to update the question, but unfortunately if I do so the answers would be answering the original question, not the updated one. So I think I'll leave it as is, and take the answers into account when making future flight plans. $\endgroup$
    – Alex
    Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 22:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Alex: you could always ask a new question, or provide an answer to this one that provides more elucidation about what happened if that would be more appropriate. If you do ask a new question, best practice would be to link to this one for context. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 9, 2023 at 2:31

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