Edmonton

Edmonton International Airport television series debuts Oct. 5

It's Canada's fastest-growing airport — and on Oct. 5, a documentary series examining the Edmonton International Airport will debut on televisions across the country.

Documentary series examines inner workings of Canada's most northerly international airport

A production crew for the documentary series on the Edmonton International Airport worked on-site for three months.

It's Canada's fastest-growing airport — and on Oct. 5, a documentary series examining the Edmonton International Airport will debut on televisions across the country.

The History Channel will show Airport: Below Zero, a series featuring the inner workings of the airport, including how crews deal with the weather, diverting of planes, and even snowy owls on the runway.

But the question for many potential viewers remains: Why Edmonton?

One of the show's producers, Marshall Kaplan, said his friends wondered why he was going to Edmonton.

Kaplan hopes the documentary series sheds light on the answer.

"Edmonton International Airport is not just the fastest growing airport in Canada, it's the most northern major airport," he told CBC's Edmonton AM Monday morning.

"I want people to see what a major airport Edmonton has."

Change of plans

One of the main reasons the film crew chose Edmonton was for the weather — winter plays a major role in the life of the airport at which many practices, such as deicing planes, come second-nature to staff at the EIA.

"Weather is always a facet. If you're 20 degrees below zero and the firemen are using hoses, what happens to the water when it freezes?" Kaplan asked.

"What happens when a snowstorm approaches? What happens when there are high winds and planes have to be diverted to Edmonton? What happens on a runway so planes can always take off?"

Unfortunately for the film crew, Edmonton had one of its most mild winters ever — meaning the film crew's plan drastically changed.

"Nothing was pre-planned, ever," Kaplan said.

The Toronto film crew expected a harsh winter, but say warm weather made it focus on other aspects of the airport's inner workings. (CBC)

Instead, the film crew decided to focus on other angles, including passenger-family reunions and special guests visiting Edmonton, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Iron Maiden 747 that the lead singer of the heavy metal band flies himself.

One of Kaplan's highlights was an experience with a snowy owl on the runway. "If there's a bird or anything on the airfield it can cause a strike to the airplane," Kaplan said. "The last thing you want is an owl or anything sucked into the engine of a plane."

The cameras followed airport personnel as they figured out the best way to deal with the owl. Kaplan said the purpose of the show, above everything, was to show the inner workings of Canada's most northerly international airport.

"The drama is always there — everything is about time," he said. "The clock is always ticking."

And though the show didn't turn out how the crew anticipated, Kaplan said viewers will enjoy the show.

"Viewers will be very surprised across Canada," he said.