Monthly Aircraft Movements: Major airports – NAV CANADA Towers and Flight Service Stations, October 2016

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Release date: December 20, 2016


There were 444,564 aircraft take‑offs and landings at the 91 Canadian airports with NAV CANADA air traffic control towers and flight service stations compared with 476,099 movements in October 2015.

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 (−4.6%) to 320,037 while local movements declined 11.5% to 124,527.

Overall, the majority of airports reported fewer movements in October 2016. Year‑over‑year variations of more than 1,000 movements were reported at 19 airports. Fifteen airports registered declines ranging from 4,802 movements at Montréal/St‑Hubert, Quebec to 1,078 at Ottawa/Gatineau, Quebec. The growth in aircraft movements at the remaining 4 airports ranged from 1,915 movements at Chicoutimi/St‑Honoré, Quebec to 1,028 movements at Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario.

Itinerant traffic dropped 4.6% (−15,385 movements) as 58 airports reported fewer movements in October 2016. With the exception of reductions of 1,868 and 1,283 movements at Montréal/St-Hubert and Saskatoon/John G. Diefenbaker International respectively, the largest declines in air traffic were observed in Alberta with decreases at Edmonton International (−2,263 movements), Calgary International (−1,937), Edmonton/Villeneuve (−1,333), Calgary/Springbank (−1,164) and Grande Prairie (−1,040). The largest gains were recorded at Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International, Ontario (+1,636) and Chicoutimi/St-Honoré (+705).

In October 2016, local movements fell 11.5% (−16,150 movements) from the same month a year earlier. Year‑over‑year variations ranged from a drop of 2,934 movements at Montréal/St‑Hubert to an increase of 1,210 movements at Chicoutimi/St‑Honoré.

Itinerant movements: domestic, transborder and international

Domestic itinerant movements (within Canada) fell to 267,049 in October 2016, down 5.8% from the same month the previous year. The airports leading the declines in traffic were Edmonton International (−1,894 movements), Montréal/St‑Hubert (−1,883) and Calgary International (−1,857). These reductions were sufficient to offset the rise in movements at Toronto/Billy Bishop Toronto City, Ontario (+707), Chicoutimi/St‑Honoré (+706) and Oshawa, Ontario (+525).

During the month, 80 airports reported 41,036 transborder (between Canada and the United States) itinerant movements, up slightly, 0.3%, from the level recorded in October 2015. Among the airports with increased growth in the levels of traffic, the highest were recorded at Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International (+762 movements), Vancouver International, British Columbia (+250) and Victoria International, British Columbia (+186). The largest reductions were reported at Edmonton International (−349), Kitchener/Waterloo (−141), Toronto/Billy Bishop Toronto City (−140) and Regina International, Saskatchewan (−138).

In October 2016, 37 airports reported a total of 11,952 other international itinerant movements, up 9.9% from October 2015. Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International was the busiest airport with 5,755 movements, an increase of 9.5%, followed by Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau International, Quebec (2,281 movements) and Vancouver International (2,014). Together, these three airports accounted for 84% of all other international itinerant movements during the month.

Factors which may have influenced the data

On October 29th, 2016, WestJet launched its first flight from Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Ontario to Belize City, Belize. The new non‑stop seasonal service will operate two times a week.

On October 20th, 2016, Air Canada inaugurated the only non‑stop service from Vancouver International Airport, British Columbia to Delhi, India. The airline will operate flights three times a week.

The Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Region began its annual field training exercise in Inuvik, Nunavut and the surrounding areas on October 17th, 2016. The live‑fly field training exercise will run to October 21st, 2016.

As of October 7th, 2016, Porter Airlines began daily flights between Toronto/Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Ontario to North Bay, Ontario.

Effective October 6th, 2016, Calgary International Airport, Alberta was renamed to YYC Calgary International Airport.

As of October 1st, 2016, Hawkair suspended flights from Terrace, British Columbia to Vancouver International Airport, British Columbia.

Operation NANOOK 2016, Canada’s annual northern sovereignty operation began on August 21st, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces deployed land, maritime and air components in three locations in the North: Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, Whitehorse and Haines Junction, Yukon.

Effective August 18th, 2016, Moncton/Greater Moncton International Airport, New Brunswick was renamed Greater Moncton Roméo Leblanc International Airport.

As of August 1st, 2016, Delta Airlines suspended flights to and from Regina International Airport, Saskatchewan and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre Inc. reported 3,969 fires covering 1,293,072 hectares as of July 31st, 2016. This represents an increase of 944 fires and 412,915 hectares from a month earlier. In 2015, the agency had recorded 5,766 fires encompassing 3,889,663 hectares by the end of July.

On July 27th, 2016, Montair Aviation, a flight training academy based in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, opened their second training base at Red Deer Airport, Alberta.

On July 25th, 2016, NewLeaf, a new Canadian low‑cost air travel company, inaugurated its first flight from John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, Ontario to Winnipeg/James Armstrong Richardson International, Manitoba. The company is contracting flights through Kelowna‑based Flair Air.

On July 20th, 2016, Qatar Airways Cargo launched new freighter services between New York (John F. Kennedy), New York and Halifax/Robert L. Stanfield International, Nova Scotia.

Effective July 1st, 2016, United Airlines suspended service from Edmonton International Airport, Alberta to Chicago, Illinois and to San Francisco, California.

The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre Inc. reported 3,025 fires covering 880,157 hectares as of June 30th, 2016. This represents an increase of 1,065 fires and 25,152 hectares from a month earlier. In 2015, the agency had recorded 4,076 fires encompassing 1,352,281 hectares by the end of June.

On June 30th, 2016, United Airlines dropped its direct flights to and from London International Airport, Ontario and Chicago.

On June 16th, 2016, Air Canada launched the only year round non‑stop service between Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, Quebec and Lyon‑Saint Exupéry, France. The flights will operate five times a week during the summer and four times a week during the winter.

On June 14th, 2016, Air Canada Rouge inaugurated its first flight from Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport to Warsaw Chopin Airport, Poland. The new non-stop seasonal service will operate four times a week until September 25th, 2016.

On June 13th, 2016, Air Canada Rouge started a new seasonal non‑stop service between Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport and Glasgow Airport, Scotland. The flights will be offered three times a week until September 25th, 2016.

On June 10th, 2016, Air Canada Rouge inaugurated its first flight from Vancouver International Airport to Dublin, Ireland. The airline will operate flights three times a week until October 8th, 2016.

On June 10th, 2016, Air Canada Rouge commenced flights between Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport and Budapest, Hungary. The non‑stop seasonal service will operate three times a week.

Fort McMurray International Airport, Alberta resumed commercial air service on June 10th, 2016. The airport authority had suspended all commercial air traffic, May 5th, 2016, as the result of forest fires in the surrounding area.

On June 3rd, 2016, Air Canada began weekly service from Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport to Casablanca, Morocco. The flights will be operated by Air Canada Rouge until October 29th, 2016. Service is scheduled to resume on May 1st, 2017.   

On June 3rd, 2016, Condor Airlines began weekly service from Halifax/Robert L. Stanfield International Airport to Munich, Germany. 

On June 2nd, 2016, Air Canada’s inaugural flight AC35, 787 Dreamliner service from Vancouver International arrived in Brisbane, Australia. These new flights between the two cities will begin daily service on June 17th, 2016.

As of May 31st the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre Inc. (CIFFC) reported a total 1,960 fires covering 855,005 hectares across Canada in 2016. The majority of these occurred in Alberta, which recorded 525 fires encompassing 595,709 hectares, approximately 70% of the total area covered by forest fires nationwide. During the same period in 2015 the agency recorded more fires (2,503) across Canada, however the coverage was not as widespread (239,313 hectares).

On May 19th, 2016, Air Canada Rouge launched its new seasonal non‑stop service between Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport and London‑Gatwick, United Kingdom. The flight will operate daily during the summer.

Starting May 6th and May 7th, 2016, WestJet launched its new non-stop service between six Canadian cities and London-Gatwick. Flights from Vancouver International, Calgary International and Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International airports began May 6th, while service from Edmonton International Airport, Winnipeg-James Armstrong Richardson International Airport and St. John’s International Airport, Newfoundland and Labrador began May 7th.

On May 5th, 2016, the Fort McMurray Airport Authority suspended commercial air traffic as a result of forest fires in the surrounding area. The airport, however, continued to operate as a key transportation infrastructure for emergency operations and the transportation of food and supplies for first responders and evacuees.

On May 4th, 2016, WOW a low‑cost Icelandic airline began flights from Reykjavik, Iceland to Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau International, offering flights 5 times per week. On May 11th, 2016, flights began between Reykjavik and Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International. The airline will start with service 4 times per week increasing to 5 times per week as of July 9th.

On May 1st, 2016, British Airways introduced the A380 on their existing London Heathrow, United Kingdom to Vancouver International Airport route.

WestJet (Encore) began daily service on April 15th, 2016, between Halifax/Robert L. Stanfield International Airport and Boston, Massachusetts.

On April 7th, 2016, SN Brussels Airlines began 5 / week service between Brussels, Belgium and Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport. The route was initially scheduled to begin service on March 29th, 2016, but was delayed due to the terrorist attacks at Brussels Airport, Belgium on March 22nd, 2016.

On April 5th, 2016, Saskatoon‑based Mitchinson Flight Centre opened a new satellite flight training school in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

On April 3rd, 2016, Air Canada ceased its operations between Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport and JFK International airport in New York, New York.

In April 2016, Air Canada suspended one round trip flight between Vancouver and Terrace. Westjet as well will no longer operate its early morning flight to Vancouver and late night return to Terrace.

On March 27th, 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 15th, 2016, WestJet (Encore) began 3 times a day service between Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport and Boston.

From March 6th ‑ 10th, 2016, Air Greenland operated 3 round trips between Nuuk, Greenland and Iqaluit, Nunavut.

On February 24th, 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/Lester B. Pearson International Airport had about 140 flights cancelled.

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

On February 15th, 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 and Dallas, Texas on February 10th, 2016.

A major snowstorm hit Atlantic Canada on February 8th and 9th, 2016 with Halifax and St. John’s being particularly hard hit.

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

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

From January 22nd – 26th, 2016, snowstorm Jonas hit the eastern seaboard of the United States and cities including New York and Washington, DC 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 International Airport 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, Michigan airports in the U.S. Midwest, a major snowstorm hit central and eastern Canada on December 29th, 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 (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. 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 8th, 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. 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.

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