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Aircraft movement statistics: Major airports, February 2019

Released: 2019-04-30

Aircraft movements, total movements


February 2019

3.8% decrease

(year-over-year change)

Aircraft take-offs and landings at Canadian airports with NAV CANADA air traffic control towers and flight service stations decreased 3.8% in February. There were 90 airports that combined to reach 351,838 movements, compared with 91 airports totalling 365,673 movements in February 2018.

Effective January 3, 2019, Toronto/Buttonville Municipal Airport in Ontario no longer has an air traffic control tower, reducing the number of Canadian airports with NAV CANADA air traffic control towers and flight service stations from 91 to 90.

A reduction in both itinerant movements (flights from one airport to another) and local movements (flights that remain in the vicinity of the airport) contributed to the year-over-year decrease. Itinerant movements fell 2.8% to 256,199 and local movements were down 6.3% to 95,639. Several significant winter weather events affected flights at airports throughout the country during February. This was the first time that both itinerant and local movements were down since January 2018.

Domestic itinerant movements (within Canada) were 205,015 in February, a 3.5% decrease compared with the same month in 2018. Of the 10 busiest airports in terms of domestic itinerant movements, 8 showed declines. Transborder movements (between Canada and the United States) fell 1.7% to 34,800 movements, while other international traffic was up 4.6% to 16,384 movements.

In February, 10 airports accounted for 41.8% of total activity. Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International, Ontario, the nation's busiest airport, reported 32,646 movements, a decrease of 6.3% compared with February 2018. This was followed by Vancouver International, British Columbia, which reported 22,790 movements (-3.8%) and Calgary International, Alberta, with 17,994 movements (+4.5%).

Chart 1  Chart 1: Total aircraft movements at major airports
Total aircraft movements at major airports

Chart 2  Chart 2: Total aircraft movements at top 10 Canadian airports, February 2019
Total aircraft movements at top 10 Canadian airports, February 2019

  Note to readers

This survey collects data on itinerant and local aircraft movements at major airports in Canada.

Major airports include all airports with either a NAV CANADA Air Traffic Control Tower or a NAV CANADA Flight Service Station.

On January 3, 2019, the air traffic control tower at Toronto/Buttonville Municipal Airport, Ontario, was officially closed, reducing the number of Canadian airports with NAV CANADA air traffic control towers and flight service stations from 91 to 90. Starting in January 2019, movements for Toronto/Buttonville Municipal Airport will be excluded from Major Airport movements. Data prior to January 2019 will continue to be available.

An aircraft movement is defined as a take-off, landing, or simulated approach by an aircraft as defined by NAV CANADA.

Data for the same month in the previous year may have been revised.

Annual estimates are released each year.

The data in this monthly release are not seasonally adjusted.


Additional analytical information is now available in "Monthly Aircraft Movements: Major airports – NAV CANADA Towers and Flight Service Stations, February 2019," as part of the service bulletin Aviation (Catalogue number51-004-X).

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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