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Aircraft Movement Statistics: Major airports, September 2022

Released: 2022-11-24

Aircraft movements, total movements


September 2022

11.1% increase

(year-over-year change)


In September, aircraft movements at Canada's major airports totalled 467,258. This was an increase of 11.1% from September 2021 and represents 91.7% of the level from September 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of domestic movements from Level I to III and foreign carriers were 84.1% of the pre-pandemic level from September 2019, while the number of movements to and from the United States increased to reach 79.5% and other international traffic to 86.6%.

Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International remained Canada's busiest airport with over 31,000 movements in the month.

Some relief for Canadian airports

September brought the typical seasonal decline in aircraft movements, helping to alleviate some of the congestion and delays that occurred at Canadian airports throughout the summer months. On September 26, the Government of Canada announced the removal of all remaining COVID-19 requirements—vaccination, testing, masking, quarantining and use of the ArriveCAN app—for anyone entering Canada, effective October 1, 2022.

Total aircraft movements

The total of aircraft movements (take-offs and landings) at the 90 Canadian airports with NAV CANADA towers and flight service stations reached 467,258 in September, 11.1% higher than that of September 2021.

The number of itinerant movements (from one airport to another) was up by 16.3% year over year to reach 324,612, and the number of local movements (within the vicinity of the airport) remained relatively stable at 142,646.

The total number of aircraft movements reached 91.7% of the September 2019 level, before the pandemic, with that of itinerant movements at 90.2% and local movements at 95.5%. This total is the highest proportion of pre-pandemic movements reached in two and a half years.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Total aircraft movements at major airports, by class of operation
Total aircraft movements at major airports, by class of operation

On March 11, 2020, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization and, in the months that followed, total aircraft movements remained well below historical levels. Unless otherwise specified, comparisons are made with the same month of 2019 (also referred to as "pre-pandemic"), when aircraft movement levels were in line with historical trends.

International movements strengthen recovery

In September, the total number of domestic movements (within Canada) was at 91.8% of the pre-pandemic level from September 2019, while that of domestic movements from Level I to III and foreign carriers was at 84.1%, a proportion virtually unchanged from that reported in August.

The number of transborder movements (to and from the United States) advanced to 79.5% of its September 2019 level (compared with 76.6% in August), while that of other international traffic (outside the United States) was at 86.6% of its pre-pandemic level, an increase from the 83.7% proportion reported in August.

Infographic 1  Thumbnail for Infographic 1: Transborder movements at major airports, 2019 to 2022
Transborder movements at major airports, 2019 to 2022

Infographic 2  Thumbnail for Infographic 2: Other international movements at major airports, 2019 to 2022
Other international movements at major airports, 2019 to 2022

No change in Canada's busiest airports

Canada's three most active airports in September remained consistent from the busy summer travel season: Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International (31,429 movements), Vancouver International (24,613) and Boundary Bay (22,168).

Chart 2  Chart 2: Total aircraft movements at the top five Canadian airports in September, 2019 to 2022
Total aircraft movements at the top five Canadian airports in September, 2019 to 2022

  Note to readers

The Aircraft Movement Statistics: Major Airports 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.

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

Data for September 2021 may have been revised.

The data in this monthly release are not seasonally adjusted.

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 (

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