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Fort McMurray Emergency Airlift: Facts and Figures

Between May 3 and May 8, Edmonton International Airport’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was one of many called into operation to support the airlift of workers, families and other residents of the Fort McMurray / Wood Buffalo Region. This emergency operation was the largest and longest in Edmonton Airports’ history. Here are a few other facts and figures:


325 - Emergency evacuation flights received by the EIA Emergency Operations Centre (the busiest EOC activation ever)

113 - Continuous hours of operation by the EIA Emergency Operations Centre (the longest EOC activation ever, surpassing September 11)

105 - Patients transported by air to support hospital evacuation by Alberta Health Services

39 - Total number of gates and bridges at EIA

9 - Number of gates and bridges that were dedicated to emergency flights only

3 - Number of terminals at EIA receiving people evacuated (Main, Shell AeroCentre, and Executive Flight Centre)

9 - Agencies in EIA’s Emergency Operations Centre (Air Canada, Canadian North, CATSA, Edmonton Police Services, RCMP /Leduc RCMP Victim Services, Suncor, WestJet)

5 - Number of Canadian Forces Hercules aircraft flights arriving from Fort McMurray area

500 - Number passengers that can be carried by five Hercules aircraft

95,025 - Total carrying capacity, in kilograms, of five Hercules aircraft (that’s over 214,000 lbs)

11 - Types of pets transported by air - Dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, snakes, lizards, spiders, insects, fish, rodents of all kinds (gerbils, hamsters, mice, guinea pigs), and one hedgehog


35 - Peak number of Edmonton Transit and Suncor buses on-site at one time, to transport evacuated workers and families to Northlands Relief Centre

350 - Estimated number of Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) and other buses used to transport evacuated workers and families to Northlands relief centre

12,802 - Maximum number of people that can be seated on 350 ETS-style buses

60 - Highest number of free taxi trips provided by a single driver among the many who were giving free rides to evacuees

1200 - Estimated number of strollers, car seats and boosters donated by the Edmonton Region community and distributed by EIA and Suncor to passengers being picked up by friends and family

29 - Degrees Celsius (peak daytime temperature faced by arriving evacuees and volunteers working to help people onto buses) 

15,000 - Estimated number of bottles of water handed out at EIA to arriving evacuees


2 - Power generators supplied to Fort McMurray Airport to run equipment during power failure or shut-down

2500 - Pounds of Purple K dry chemical fire extinguishing agent sent by EIA fire hall to Fort McMurray Airport

1200 - Cubic feet of nitrogen (for activation of dry chemical fire extinguishing agent) sent from EIA fire hall to Fort McMurray Airport

1,000 - Litres of Airport Fire Fighting Foam (AFFF) sent by EIA fire hall to Fort McMurray airport


24 - Hours of operation per day by CATSA’s pre-board screening team

777 - Largest type of commercial plane used to get passengers from Edmonton to points beyond. Supplied by Air Canada, and seats 400+ passengers

3,600 - Number of extra seats on scheduled flights added by Air Canada (the equivalent of more than nine Boeing 777s, the largest airplane in Air Canada’s fleet)


100+ Estimated hours of operation of EIA’s relief centre, where evacuees could get water, snack and meals, charge phones and other devices, watch news, or seek support from Leduc & District Victim Services.

140+ Estimated person-hours of victim services support provided by the Leduc RCMP at EIA’s relief centre

750 - Estimated number of pillowcases, blankets for the relief centre, and personal items for evacuees that were laundered by Renaissance Edmonton International Airport Hotel

200 - Rooms occupied by families, workers, and responding personnel at the Renaissance Edmonton International Airport (Total number of rooms at the hotel: 213)

*Note: These numbers include estimates intended to provide selected examples of how the airport and its partners were engaged in the Fort McMurray evacuation airlift.

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