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Aircraft movement statistics: Major and select small airports, January 2023

Released: 2023-03-29

Aircraft movements, total movements


January 2023

20.6% increase

(12-month change)


In January, Canada's major and select small airports totalled 337,385 aircraft movements. This was an increase of 20.6% from January 2022, but was 14.0% lower than January 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of movements to and from the United States was up 65.2% year over year, while international traffic increased 45.7%. Domestic movements from Level I to III and foreign carriers were 15.4% higher than January 2022.

Total aircraft movements

Total aircraft movements (take-offs and landings) at the 90 airports with NAV CANADA towers and flight service stations, combined with 34 select small airports, totalled 337,385 in January, up 20.6% year over year. This increase can be partially attributed to fewer travel restrictions compared with January 2022, when the Government of Canada advised passengers to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada in response to the Omicron variant.

Itinerant movements (from one airport to another) increased 21.6% year over year to reach 243,999 in January, while local movements (within the vicinity of the airport) were up 18.0% to 93,386.

Total aircraft movements were 14.0% below the January 2019 pre-pandemic level, an improvement from the 20.3% decline reported in December 2022 (compared with December 2019). Itinerant movements were down 16.8% in January from their pre-pandemic level, while local movements were 5.6% below their pre-pandemic level.

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

Year-over-year growth in all sectors

In January, transborder traffic (to and from the United States) increased 65.2% year over year to reach 31,102 movements. Other international movements (outside the United States) rose 45.7% from January 2022 to 16,279. Despite these gains, movements in both of these sectors remained below pre-pandemic levels from the same month in 2019.

Total domestic movements (within Canada) were up 15.2% from January 2022, with those conducted by Level I to III and foreign carriers reporting a similar increase of 15.4%.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Transborder and other international aircraft movements in January, 2019 to 2023
Transborder and other international aircraft movements in January, 2019 to 2023 

Majority of aircraft movements occur in two provinces

For the third consecutive month, airports in Ontario reported the most aircraft movements in January, with 88,941. This was slightly more than British Columbia, the province with the second-most movements, which reported 88,560 movements. These two provinces accounted for more than half of total aircraft movements.

With 29,320 movements in January, Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International remained the busiest airport in Canada. This represents a year-over-year increase of 42.5% but is approximately one-fifth lower than the January 2019 level.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Total aircraft movements at the top five Canadian airports in January 2019, 2022 and 2023
Total aircraft movements at the top five Canadian airports in January 2019, 2022 and 2023

  Note to readers

Starting with October 2022, the "Aircraft Movement Statistics: Major airports" series has been replaced by "Aircraft Movement Statistics: Major and select small airports." This series collects data on itinerant and local aircraft movements from both major airports (those with towers and flight service stations operated by NAV CANADA) as well as a selection of airports previously available in the small airport data series. This enhancement will improve the overall coverage of aircraft movements in Canada.

Releases in The Daily are now accompanied by a new set of data tables (23-10-0296-01 to 23-10-0304-01), of which two, 23-10-0296-01 and 23-10-0302-01, contain historical data beginning with 2019. The remaining tables (23-10-0297-01 to 23-10-0301-01, 23-10-0303-01 and 23-10-0304-01) have data commencing with reference year 2022.

Data prior to 2022 for the major airports can be found in tables 23-10-0002-01 to 23-10-0015-01. Data prior to 2019 for the selected small airports can be found in tables 23-10-0016-01 and 23-10-0017-01.

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

Data for January 2022 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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