Immediately after the attacks of September 11th, eleven years ago today, Operation Yellow Ribbon went into effect. Airline flights were diverted to Canadian airports in small towns in order to neutralized any danger as much as possible. One of those airports was in Gander, Newfoundland.
The tiny town only boasted 10,000 residents, but what it lacked in population size, it more than made up for in airport capacity. Gander International Airport had previously served as a refueling stop for transatlantic flights and had served as a staging point for U-boat hunting flights during World War II. Gander ended up receiving 38 flights in the wake of the September 11th attacks, second only to Halifax’s 47 diverted flights.
Landing all the planes in Gander was easy. Figuring out what to do with the 6,500-plus passengers and crewmembers who were stuck on the ground until flights resumed was quite a bit tougher. Towns of 10,000 people aren’t exactly built to accommodate sudden 66% population surges, so there wasn’t hotel and restaurant capacity to take in all these stranded flyers.
Read how Gander rose to the occasion and pulled off this complicated operation at mental_floss. Link