Monthly Aircraft Movements: Major airports - Airports with NAV CANADA Towers or Flight Service Stations
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In February 2015, aircraft take-offs and landings at Canadian airports with NAV CANADA air traffic control towers and flight service stations decreased 1.8% from the same month a year earlier. These 91 airports reported 355,531 movements during the month as compared to 362,053 at 92 airports in February 2014.
Prince Rupert Airport in British Columbia, while still open, lost its status as a flight service station effective July 24, 2014. This airport accounted for 193 movements in February 2014.
The total number of movements was the lowest recorded for the month of February since 2011, possibly as a result of the adverse weather conditions experienced in much of the country. Environment Canada reported that temperatures during the month in both Ontario and Quebec were colder than historic averages and record levels of snow fell in the Maritimes.
Decreases 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 overall decline. Itinerant movements fell 1.1% to 260,955, the lowest level since 1986. Local movements, which fell by 3.7% to 94,576, were the lowest since 2011.
The three airports with the largest decreases in total movements in February 2015 – Montréal/St-Hubert, Quebec (-2,486 movements), Chicoutimi/St-Honore, Quebec (-2,469) and Ottawa/Macdonald-Cartier International, Ontario (-2,297) – each experienced declines of more than 2,000 movements. Victoria International, British Columbia (+1,899) and Abbotsford, British Columbia (+1,843) were the airports that recorded the largest increases compared to the previous year.
Although large increases in itinerant movements were recorded at both Vancouver International, British Columbia (+1,218 movements) and Fredericton International, New Brunswick (+1,074), these were not sufficient to temper the declines reported by the majority of airports. Foremost among these was the drop in traffic at Ottawa/Macdonald-Cartier International (-1,351) as Environment Canada reported that Ottawa experienced its coldest February ever.
Similarly, weather may have also influenced the decrease in local movements (-3,634 movements) as airports in Quebec were the primary contributors to the overall decline. Average temperatures across the province during February were the lowest since at least 1900. Leading the declines in movements were Montréal/St-Hubert (-2,062) and Chicoutimi/St-Honore (-1,852). The largest growth in local movements was reported at Victoria International (+1,602) and Abbotsford (+1,260). Average temperatures in British Columbia were three to five degrees warmer than normal.
Itinerant movements: domestic, transborder and international
Domestic itinerant movements (within Canada) fell to 211,791 in February 2015, down 1.4% from the same month the previous year. The drop in movements at both Ottawa/Macdonald-Cartier International (-1,387 movements) and Edmonton International, Alberta (-820) were sufficient to offset the growth at Fredericton International (+1,074). The majority of the airports, 52 in all, reported decreases in domestic movements.
Seventy-two airports reported 35,785 transborder itinerant movements (between Canada and the United States), down 2.2% from the same month the previous year. Slight decreases in transborder movements were recorded at Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International, Ontario (-414 movements), Montreal/ Pierre Elliot Trudeau International, Quebec (-357) and Calgary International, Alberta (-152). The largest gain was observed at Vancouver International (+362).
A total of 13,379 other international itinerant movements were reported at forty-two airports, up 6.4% from the previous year. Activity at Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International, the busiest airport, reached 5,673 movements, an increase of 5.7%, followed by Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau International which recorded 2,560 movements.
Factors influencing the data
On February 16th, 2015, Kelowna International Airport experienced flight delays and cancellations due to fog.
On February 2nd, 2015, a formidable winter storm hit the Greater Toronto Area forcing flight cancellations at Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport and Toronto/Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
Significant winter storms struck Atlantic Canada in February 2015 forcing numerous flight cancellations and delays. During the same time, eastern Ontario and southwestern Quebec recorded colder than normal temperatures.
A lake-effect snow band off Lake Ontario hit Halton and Hamilton, Ontario, forcing about 40 flight cancellations at Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport on January 26th, 2015.
January 2015 was marked by extreme cold, heavy snow and freezing rain conditions across Canada forcing delays and flight cancellations at many airports.
Air Canada launched a new non-stop seasonal service from Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport to Mont-Tremblant, Quebec. Air Canada Express will operate four weekly flights between December 18th, 2014 and March 30th, 2015.
Air Canada inaugurated new non-stop service between Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The new service will be offered three days a week starting December 12th, 2014.
All flights at Vancouver International Airport were briefly grounded November 30th, 2014 after a water leak at the air traffic control centre.
On November 26th, 2014, Air Canada rouge commenced non-stop flights between Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport and Honolulu, Hawaii. The new service will be offered twice weekly.
A light snowfall combined with blowing snow delayed and cancelled a number of flights departing Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport on November 19th, 2014.
The world’s longest and heaviest aircraft, the six-engine Antonov An-225 Mriya, made its first appearance at Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport on November 17th, 2014. The aircraft is approximately 275 feet long with a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes.
A simulated air crash took place in October 2014, on one of the runways at the Montréal/Saint-Hubert Airport. The exercise was designed to test the effectiveness of the emergency measures plan, in accordance with Transport Canada requirements.
Effective July 24th, 2014, NAV CANADA terminated the services provided by the Flight Service Station located at Prince Rupert Airport. The airport remains operational.
On July 23rd and 24th, 2014, Air Canada halted flights to Tel Aviv, Israel due to a rocket strike near its main airport.
On June 28th, 2014, Calgary International Airport opened a new runway. The new runway will be the longest in Canada, capable of landing the largest aircraft in the world with fewer payload restrictions.
Effective June 27th, 2014, WestJet Encore began service between Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport and Thunder Bay Airport, as well as service between Thunder Bay Airport and Winnipeg/James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.
As of June 25th, 2014, China Eastern Airlines commenced flights from Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport to Shanghai, China to supplement increasing demand for flights to and from Chinese destinations. And Cathay Pacific Airline, which has been flying out of Vancouver for 31 years, flies twice-daily non-stop from Vancouver International Airport to Hong Kong. The airline also offers flights 10 times a week between Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport and Hong Kong.
Starting June 24th, 2014, WestJet commenced non-stop service twice per week between Las Vegas, Nevada and Fort McMurray Airport.
Effective June 20th, 2014, Canadian North Airlines began a seasonal non-stop flight service between Iqaluit Airport and Halifax/Robert L. Stanfield International Airport, with same plane service to St John’s International.
On June 15th, 2014, WestJet launched its first transatlantic flight between Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport and Dublin, Ireland. The inaugural flight stopped at St John’s International Airport for refueling.
On June 1st, 2014, British Airways began to operate 19 flights per week between Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport and London, England, with the introduction of additional flights on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Beginning May 12th, 2014, WestJet Encore added new daily non-stop service between Fort McMurray Airport and Kelowna Airport and between Fort McMurray and Vancouver International Airport.
Starting May 5th, 2014, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines launched non-stop service between Edmonton International Airport and Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.
As of May 1st, 2014, Air Canada rouge began flying year-round service between Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport and Dublin, Ireland.
Air Canada rouge will operate five new routes from Vancouver International Airport by the end of 2014, beginning with a daily service to Las Vegas, Nevada on April 28th. The airline will also offer daily services to Los Angeles, California (beginning May 1st), Anchorage, Alaska (beginning May 16th), San Francisco, California (beginning July 1st) and Phoenix, Arizona (beginning December 17th).
Effective April 1st, 2014, Bearskin Airlines cancelled its service from Kitchener-Waterloo Airport to Ottawa/ Macdonald-Cartier International Airport.
On March 12th, 2014 a significant winter storm struck Eastern Canada forcing dozens of flight cancellations and delays at Eastern Canadian airports.
On February 24th, 2014, a major winter storm with freezing temperatures struck the south-west coast of British Columbia forcing flight cancellations and delays at Vancouver International Airport and Victoria International Airport.