Aviation History Newfoundland & Labrador

Gander’s Transatlantic History

by Gary Hebbard, Journalist and Aviation Enthusiast

Gander. The name is known to virtually anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of aviation. Built just prior to the outbreak of World War Two, the site became, at one time, the largest airport in the world. With the advent of trans ocean flying to deliver fighting aircraft and fighting men to Europe, the facility became known to a generation of young men and women bound for war. With the coming of peace, using paved runways built for wartime use, cross ocean travel by airplane became more and more common place.
In the late 1950s jet airliners joined their propeller driven cousins on the North Atlantic run, stopping regularly at Gander for fuel and rest. In the 21st century many new aircraft no longer need to make fuel stops there but Gander remains familiar to every flyer crossing the ocean as a haven in times of trouble and a destination for passengers and freight. It is also home to an air traffic control system that safely guides civilian and military flights over half the great ocean.