Aviation
Monthly Aircraft Movements: Major airports ? NAV CANADA Towers and Flight Service Stations, March 2016

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Release date: May 26, 2016

Analysis

There were 439,389 aircraft take-offs and landings at the 91 Canadian airports with NAV CANADA air traffic control towers and flight service stations compared with 452,217 movements in March 2015.

Both itinerant movements (flights from one airport to another) and local movements (flights that remain in the vicinity of the airport) decreased in March 2016 on a year-over-year basis. Itinerant movements were down 1.7% to 309,782 while local movements decreased 5.5% to 129,607.

Overall, the majority of airports reported fewer movements in March 2016. Year-over-year variations of over 1,000 movements were reported at 12 airports. Nine airports registered declines ranging from 4,025 movements at Victoria International, British Columbia to 1,119 movements at Grande Prairie, Alberta. In contrast, Calgary/Springbank, Alberta (+ 2,435 movements), Whitehorse International, Yukon (+1,532), and Pitt Meadows, British Columbia (+1,163) each reported increased activity.

Itinerant traffic dropped 1.7% (- 5,244 movements) as more than half of all airports reported fewer movements in March 2016. Edmonton International, Alberta (-1,659 movements) and Fort McMurray, Alberta (-1,158) recorded the largest decreases. The largest gains were observed at Pitt Meadows (+881) and Montréal/St-Hubert, Quebec (+819).

In March 2016 local movements fell 5.5% (-7,584 movements) from the same month a year earlier. Strong declines were reported at Victoria International, (-4,140 movements), Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario (-1,672), Saskatoon/John G. Diefenbaker International, Saskatchewan (-1,412), Red Deer Regional, Alberta (-1,232) and Toronto/Buttonville Municipal, Ontario (-1,116). Airports reporting gains in local air traffic were led by increases at Calgary/Springbank (+2,048) and Whitehorse International (+1,290).

Itinerant movements: domestic, transborder and international

Domestic itinerant movements (within Canada) declined to 253,624 in March 2016, a decrease of 1.8% from the same month the previous year. Leading the declines were reductions in movements at Edmonton International (-1,344 movements) and Fort McMurray (-1,152) which offset gains at several airports including Pitt Meadows (+884) and Montréal/St-Hubert (+793).

During the month, 74 airports reported 40,403 transborder (between Canada and the United States) itinerant movements, down 2.3% from the level recorded in March 2015. The largest reductions in movements occurred at Edmonton International (-301 movements), Vancouver International, British Columbia (-272) and Ottawa/Macdonald-Cartier International, Ontario (-265). Among those airports which reported higher levels of traffic were Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau International, Quebec (+171), Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International, Ontario (+154) and Toronto/Billy Bishop Toronto City, Ontario (+115).

In March 2016, 43 airports reported a total of 15,755 other international itinerant movements, up 2.6% from March 2015.  Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International was the busiest airport with 6,711 movements, followed by Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau International (2,918), and Vancouver International (1,940). Together, these three airports represented 73% of all other international itinerant movements during the month.

Factors influencing the data

On March 27, 2016, Mt. Pavlof, a volcano on the Alaska Peninsula, erupted with little advance notice spewing an ash cloud up to 20,000 feet (6,100 m) high and prompting aviation warnings. Flights were affected in the territories, and as far away as Regina.

On March 15, WestJet (Encore) began 3 times a day service between Toronto and Boston.

From March 6-10, Air Greenland operated 3 round trips between Nuuk, Greenland and Iqaluit, Nunavut.

On February 24, 2016 a winter storm hit Chicago and moved into eastern Canada. The combination of snow and freezing rain led to dangerous travel conditions with over 1,000 flights cancelled in Chicago. Toronto Pearson had about 140 flights cancelled.

A major snowstorm hit eastern Canada on February 16, 2016. Ottawa received 51 cm of snow, a one-day record snowfall.

On February 15, 2016, WestJet ceased operations for the Calgary-Prince George, Calgary-Terrace and Fort McMurray-Kelowna routes, and reduced service on the Calgary-Brandon, Calgary-Edmonton and Calgary-Fort McMurray routes.

American Airlines ended its service between Edmonton, Alberta and Dallas, Texas on February 10, 2016.

A major snowstorm hit Atlantic Canada on February 8-9, 2016 with Halifax, Nova Scotia and St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador being particularly hard hit.

Freezing rain in the Ottawa area cancelled numerous flights in and out of Ottawa/Macdonald-Cartier International, Ontario on February 3, 2016.

On February 1, 2016, United Airlines ended its daily service between St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador and Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey.

From January 22-26, 2016, snowstorm Jonas hit the eastern seaboard of the United States and cities including New York and Washington received record or near record snowfalls. Overall, about 12,000 flights were cancelled over the four-day period, a number of which were destined for Canada.

On January 18th, 2016, National Airlines began a twice-weekly service between St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador and Orlando, Florida (Sanford International Airport).

On January 17th, 2016, the Maritimes were hit with their third major snowstorm of the week.

Having already impacted travel at both Chicago and Detroit airports in the U.S. Midwest, a major snowstorm hit central and eastern Canada on December 29, 2015 causing delays and cancellations in southern Ontario and western Quebec, including Toronto, Ottawa, and Montréal airports.

On December 27th, 2015, Air China launched non-stop service from Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport to Havana, Cuba. The flights will operate three times per week.

On December 19th, 2015, Porter Airlines began seasonal service between Toronto/Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and Melbourne, Florida. The flight will operate once a week.

On December 19th, 2015, Delta Airlines began daily service between Edmonton International and Seattle, Washington.

WestJet began seasonal service between Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and Orlando, Florida on December 18th, 2015. The flight will operate once a week.

On December 17th, 2015, National Airlines inaugurated a twice-weekly service between Windsor, Ontario and Orlando, Florida (Sanford International Airport).

On December 10th, 2015, Air New Zealand increased its services between Vancouver International Airport and Auckland, New Zealand from five times per week to daily service until the end of January.

On December 10th, 2015, WestJet began seasonal service between Waterloo, Ontario and Orlando, Florida. The flight will operate once a week.

Aeromexico launched a daily non-stop service on December 9th, 2015 between Vancouver International Airport and Mexico City, Mexico.

On December 8, 2015, United Airlines reduced its service between London, Ontario and Chicago from 2 daily flights to 1 daily flight.

On December 1st, 2015, North Star Air expanded their services in Northern Ontario with the introduction of three new routes. These routes connect a number of smaller communities with Red Lake, Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay.  

On November 3rd, 2015, Air Canada launched non-stop service from Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The flights will operate three times per week.

On November 1st, 2015, Air Canada launched non-stop service from Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport to Delhi, India. The flights will operate four times per week.

On October 29th, 2015, WestJet launched non-stop service from Abbotsford, British Columbia to Las Vegas, Nevada. The flights will operate twice-weekly.

On September 29th, 2015, Air China, in cooperation with Air Canada, launched a new direct flight connecting Montréal/Pierre Elliott 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 21st, 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 Robert L. Stanfield International Airport to Deer Lake Regional Airport 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.

On July 7th, 2015, the Greater Moncton International Airport and KF Aerospace announced a new cargo service. KF Aerospace routes will include four times a week service between Moncton and Europe via Brussels (DC10-30F), and future expansion will see daily service between Toronto and Atlantic Canada via Greater Moncton International Airport. 

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/Lester B. Pearson International Airport were cancelled July 3rd, 2015 due to a labour disruption between the airlines and their fuelling companies.

On July 2, 2015, a new airline codeshare agreement between Calm Air and First Air came into effect for the Kivalliq region.  Under this arrangement, Rankin Inlet, Nunavut replaces Churchill, Manitoba as the main regional hub. In addition, the announcement indicated a reduction in the number of multi-leg flights in the region with more direct flights into Rankin Inlet.

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/Lester B. Pearson International Airport to Abbotsford International Airport.

Air Canada, on June 5th, 2015, further expanded its global network with routes from Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International to Amsterdam and from Montréal/Pierre Elliott 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 Robert L. 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 Montréal/Pierre Elliott 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 Robert L. Stanfield International Airport.

On April 23rd, 2015, the main runway at Halifax Robert L. 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 April 21, 2015, United Airlines ended its daily service between London, Ontario and Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey.

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.

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