Monthly Aircraft Movements
Major airports ? NAV CANADA Towers and Flight Service Stations, September 2015

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Release date: November 30, 2015 Correction date: (if required)


Aircraft take-offs and landings at Canadian airports with NAV CANADA air traffic control towers and flight service stations were relatively unchanged (+0.2%) in September 2015 from the same month a year earlier. These 91 airports reported 497,171 movements during the month compared with 496,090 movements in September 2014.

Both itinerant movements (flights from one airport to another) and local movements (flights that remain in the vicinity of the airport) experienced marginal increases.  Itinerant movements were virtually unchanged (+0.1%) at 362,201 while local movements rose slightly (0.6%) to 134,970.

Forty-nine airports reported higher levels of movements in September 2015. Year-over-year variations for those airports reporting increases of over 1,000 movements ranged from a gain of 4,487 movements at Montréal/St Hubert, Quebec to an increase of 1,021 movements at Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International, Ontario.  The largest reductions were recorded at Victoria International, British Columbia (-3,286 movements), Toronto/Buttonville, Ontario (-1,928), Thunder Bay, Ontario (-1,680), Chicoutimi/St-Honoré, Quebec (-1,167), Nanaimo, British Columbia (-1,048) and Saskatoon/John G. Diefenbaker International, Saskatchewan (-1,036).

Itinerant movements were little changed (0.1%) from the same month a year earlier. Although a few more airports reported lower levels of itinerant movements than increases, these reductions were offset by the size of the gains at the remaining airports.  The three airports with the largest increases were Montréal/St Hubert (+2,479 movements), Pitt Meadows, British Columbia (+989) and Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International (+973). In contrast, reduced activity was reported at Fort McMurray, Alberta (-1,505), Fort Nelson, British Columbia (-658) and Edmonton International, Alberta (-655).

Local movements increased 0.6% (+771 movements) as forty-nine airports reported more movements in September 2015. Year-over-year variations ranged from an increase of 2,060 movements (+37.3%) at Calgary/Springbank, Alberta to a drop of 2,958 movements (-41.3%) at Victoria International.

Itinerant movements: domestic, transborder and international

Domestic itinerant movements (within Canada) reached 309,366 in September 2015, up 0.3% from the same month the previous year. Increased movements at Montréal/St Hubert (+2,500 movements) and Pitt Meadows (+1,002) were sufficient to offset declines at Fort McMurray, Alberta (-1,499).

During the month, eighty-six airports reported 41,048 transborder (between Canada and the United States) itinerant movements, down 3.0% from the number recorded in September 2014. The largest decreases were reported at Ottawa/Macdonald-Cartier International, Ontario (-222 movements), Saskatoon/John G. Diefenbaker International (-182) and Regina International, Saskatchewan (-159). The largest gain was observed at Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau International, Quebec (+126).

A total of 11,787 other international itinerant movements were reported at forty-five airports, up 6.7% from the previous year. Activity at Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International, the busiest airport, reached 5,569 movements, an increase of 5.5%, followed by Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau International (2,368 movements) and Vancouver International, British Columbia (1,833) . Together, these three airports represented 83% of all other international itinerant movements during the month.

Factors influencing the data

On September 29th, 2015, Air China, in cooperation with Air Canada, launched a new direct flight connecting Montreal Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport to Beijing, China. The flights will be operated by Air China initially three times per week.

Bearskin Airlines, on September 28th, 2015, rolled out 23 new weekly non-stop flights between Sudbury Airport and Timmins, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Porter Airlines inaugurated a non-stop flight from Toronto/Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to Pittsburgh on September 22nd, 2015. The airline will operate two daily weekday flights from Toronto. Weekend service includes one roundtrip on Saturday and two on Sunday.

On September 8th, 2015, WestJet began a new non-stop service between Calgary International Airport and Houston, Texas. The airline will operate six flights per week.

Air China Cargo, on September 3rd 2015, launched service to Edmonton International from Shanghai, China and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. The flights will operate six times a week, with three flights from Dallas and three from Shanghai. 

The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre Inc. reported 6,654 fires covering 3,953,056 hectares as of August 31, 2015, more fires and a bit more area than a month earlier. In 2014, the agency had recorded 4,681 fires encompassing 4,549,459 hectares by the end of August.

The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre Inc. reported 5,766 fires covering 3,889,663 hectares as of July 31, 2015. This represents an increase from the previous year when 3,331 fires and 1,606,278 hectares were recorded. In several cases, particularly in Western Canada, air support was deployed to assist ground crews.

WestJet Encore, on July 15th, 2015, launched new daily non-stop flights from Halifax Stanfield International Airport to Deer Lake Regional Airport in Ontario and Gander International Airport in Newfoundland and Labrador, and to Sydney Airport, Nova Scotia. The airline also inaugurated new daily non-stop service between Moncton/Greater Moncton International Airport, New Brunswick, and Ottawa/Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, Ontario.

In early July 2015, a rare, lingering fog and thick ice caused major delays in food shipments to Iqaluit, Nunavut. Cargo planes and combo planes (planes that carry cargo and passengers) were not able to fly in or out of Iqaluit Airport.

Dozens of flights out of Toronto/Pearson International Airport were cancelled July 3rd, 2015 due to a labour disruption between the airlines and their fuelling companies.

The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre Inc. reported 4,076 fires covering 1,352,282 hectares as of June 30, 2015. This represents an increase from the previous year when 1,977 fires and 414,722 hectares were recorded. In several cases, particularly in Western Canada, air support was deployed to assist ground crews.

Air Canada rouge, on June 27th 2015, began a new non-stop daily seasonal service from Toronto/Pearson International Airport to Abbotsford International Airport.

Air Canada, on June 5th 2015, further expanded its global network with routes from Toronto/Pearson International to Amsterdam and from Montreal/Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport to Mexico City.

On June 1st 2015, Air Canada launched its new non-stop daily service between Calgary International, Alberta and Northwest Regional Airport Terrace-Kitimat, British Columbia.

On June 1st 2015, the main runway at St. John’s International Airport closed to allow for several upgrades, including resurfacing and the addition of new lighting, with in-tandem work by NAV CANADA in establishing the new Category 3 instrument landing systems (Cat 3 ILS). The closure of the runway may result in flights being delayed or diverted. The runway is expected to reopen, in part, September 30th, 2015.

First Air announced it is increasing the number of flights from Edmonton International, Alberta to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories from six per week to nine per week, with an additional flight on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The service will start June 1st, 2015.

On May 30th and 31st, 2015, Fort McMurray Airport experienced numerous flight cancellations and delays due to a nearby fire in Saprae Creek that caused airspace to be restricted for a portion of the airport’s runway. 

On May 29th, 2015, WestJet began seasonal service from Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Nova Scotia to Glasgow, Scotland. The service will run until October 24, 2015.

Firefighting crews battled a large forest fire southwest of Prince George, British Columbia in mid-May 2015. More than 200 fire personnel, 13 helicopters, 30 pieces of heavy equipment and eight air tankers were involved in battling the fire.     

Air Canada rouge inaugurated a new route from Montreal Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport, Quebec to Venice Marco Polo Airport, Italy on May 15th, 2015. The service will operate twice-weekly.

Kenmore Air, an airline based in Seattle, Washington, suspended its service to Nanaimo Airport, British Columbia on May 4th, 2015.

On May 1st, 2015, WestJet began seasonal service from St. John’s International Airport, Newfoundland and Labrador, to Dublin, Ireland. This service will run until October 24th, 2015.

On May 1st, 2015, Air Canada expanded its international and domestic routes at four Canadian airports. New services were launched from Vancouver International Airport, British Columbia to Osaka, Japan and to Comox Airport, British Columbia. As well, new routes started from Calgary International Airport, Alberta to Nanaimo Airport and to Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

On April 23rd, 2015, the main runway at Halifax Stanfield International Airport became fully operational after an Air Canada flight crashed on March 29th. The runway was completely closed for about 10 days during this period.

On March 29th, 2015, Air France launched its inaugural flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to Vancouver International Airport. The flights will run three days a week and five days a week in summer.

Major snowstorms struck Atlantic Canada in mid-March 2015, forcing flight delays and cancellations.

Effective February 28th, 2015, United Airlines ended flights between Denver International and Regina International, Saskatchewan and Saskatoon/John G. Diefenbaker International, Saskatchewan airports. United flew two flights each day into the Saskatchewan cities.

On February 16th, 2015, Kelowna International Airport, British Columbia 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, Ontario and Toronto/Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Ontario.

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, Quebec. The exercise was designed to test the effectiveness of the emergency measures plan, in accordance with Transport Canada requirements.

As of September 30th 2014, United Airlines discontinued direct flights between Chicago and Regina International and Saskatoon/John G. Diefenbaker International airports.

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