Airport Activity: Air Carrier Traffic at Canadian Airports, 2016

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Release date: July 31, 2017


The number of passengers enplaned and deplaned at Canadian airports reached 140.2 million in 2016, an increase of 5.0% compared to the previous year. It was the seventh consecutive annual increase following the economic slowdown of 2009. 

Increased activity at several of the country’s largest airports including: Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International (+8.0%), Vancouver International (+8.4%), Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau International (+6.3%), Winnipeg/James Armstrong Richardson International (+6.0%) and Halifax/Robert L. Stanfield International (+5.6%) all contributed to the strong growth in passenger traffic.

Activity at the Fort McMurray airport in Alberta was impacted by a large wildfire in May 2016.  In response, all commercial air traffic at the airport was temporarily suspended until early June. As a result, passenger traffic at Fort McMurray fell 29% during the year, to 0.7 million passengers, its lowest level since 2011.

In 2016, all sectors experienced gains: the domestic sector expanded 4.8% (+3.8 million passengers), other international traffic rose 7.9% (+2.2 million) and transborder traffic (between Canada and the United States) increased 2.7% (+0.7 million).

For a third consecutive year the growth in other international passenger traffic (+7.9%) outpaced those of  the domestic and transborder sectors as both Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International and Vancouver International posted strong gains of 9.5% and 15.2% respectively. Together, these airports accounted for 67% of the 29.6 million passengers who enplaned and deplaned other international flights in Canada.

The weight of cargo loaded and unloaded at Canadian airports increased 3.7% in 2016 to just over 1.2 million tonnes. Domestic cargo increased 4.6% to 553,000 tonnes. Other international cargo was up 7.0% to 437,000 tonnes, while transborder tonnages decreased 3.9% to 226,000 tonnes.

Table 1
Passenger and cargo data
Table summary
This table displays the results of Passenger and cargo data 2015, 2016 and Change 2015 to 2016, calculated using number and percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
2015 2016 Change 2015 to 2016
number percent
Enplaned and Deplaned Passengers
Domestic sector 79,524,002 83,363,521 4.8
Transborder sector 26,499,377 27,215,419 2.7
Other International sector 27,403,324 29,576,942 7.9
Total 133,426,703 140,155,882 5.0
Loaded/Unloaded Cargo (tonnes) 1,172,781 1,216,108 3.7

Chart 1 Total enplaned/deplaned passengers

Data table for Chart 1
Data table for Chart 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 1. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Total Passengers, calculated using millions units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Total Passengers
1997 79,592,294
1998 82,487,205
1999 85,243,957
2000 86,003,003
2001 81,751,079
2002 78,229,504
2003 78,391,224
2004 87,799,030
2005 94,605,005
2006 101,677,328
2007 106,433,442
2008 109,025,968
2009 104,765,822
2010 109,099,196
2011 113,471,763
2012 119,197,489
2013 123,909,945
2014 129,868,870
2015 133,426,703
2016 140,155,882

Note to Users

Cargo data

It is important to note that the air cargo data presented does not represent the total cargo loaded and unloaded in Canada. Comprehensive cargo data are not collected for the following reasons:

  1. the regional and local scheduled carriers do not file cargo data on the airport activity survey and,
  2. the major charter survey does not collect data on domestic courier cargo or domestic entity cargo flights.

Passenger flights which carry cargo on them are classified as passenger flights. The cargo carried on these passenger flights is defined as belly-hold cargo. The belly-hold cargo data are included with the pure cargo data in the cargo table, CANSIM 401-0045.

Services offered by carriers

Scheduled Services

ABX Air Inc.

Aer Lingus


Air Algerie

Air Canada

Air China

Air Creebec Inc.

Air France

Air Georgian Limited

Air Inuit Ltd.

Air New Zealand

Air North Charter Training Ltd.

Air St Pierre

Air Tindi Ltd.

Air Transat A.T. Inc.

Air Wisconsin

Aklak Air

Alaska Airlines


All Nippon Airways

American Airlines

Amik Aviation Ltd.


Atlas Air Inc.

Austrian Airlines

Aviation Consultants Inc.

Aviation Starlink Inc.

Bearskin Airlines

Bradley Air Services Limited

British Airways

Brussels Airlines

Buffalo Airways Ltd.

Calm Air International Ltd.

Canadian North Inc.

Cargojet Airways Ltd.

Cargolux Airlines International

Caribbean Airlines

Carson Air Ltd.

Castle Aviation

Cathay Pacific Airways

Central Mountain Air Ltd.

China Airlines

China Eastern Airlines

China Southern Airlines

Compass Airlines (North America)

Condor Flugdienst

Continental Airlines


Corilair Charters Limited

Corse Air Intl.

Cubana Airlines

Delta Air Lines

Edelweiss Air


El Al Israel Airlines

Emirates Airlines

Empire Airlines


Envoy Air Inc.

Ethiopian Airlines

Etihad Airways

EVA Airways Corporation

Exploits Valley Air Services Ltd.




Fly Jamaica Airways

Global Aviation

GoJet Airlines LLC

Griffing Flying Service

Hainan Airlines

Harbour Air Ltd.

Hawkair Aviation Services Ltd.

Helijet International Inc.

Horizon Air Industries Inc.


Inland Air Charters Ltd.

Integra Air Inc.

Island Express Air Inc.

JAL-Japan Airlines International Co. Ltd.

Jazz Air Inc.

JDR Pacific Ventures Ltd.

Jet Airways India

Jet Linx Aviation

K D Air Corporation

Keewatin Air Ltd.

Kenmore Air Harbor Inc.

Kenn Borek Air Ltd.

KF Aerospace

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Korean Air

Labrador Airways Ltd.


LOT-Polish Airlines

Lufthansa German Airlines

McMurray Aviation

Mesa Airlines

Midwest Airlines Inc.

Missinippi Airways

Montmagny Air Service Inc.

Morningstar Air Express Inc.

Nakina Outpost Camps & Air Service Ltd.

Northern Air Charter (P.R.) Inc.

Northern Thunderbird Air Inc.

Northway Aviation Ltd.

Northwestern Air Lease

Northwright Air

Omni Air Express

Orca Airways Ltd.

Pacific Coastal Airlines Limited

Pakistan International

Pascan Aviation Inc.

Perimeter Aviation Ltd.

Philippine Airlines Inc.

Pinnacle Airlines

Porter Airlines Inc.

Provincial Airlines

PSA Airlines

Qatar Airways

Royal Air Maroc

Royal Jordanian

Salt Spring Island Air Ltd.

SATA Internacional


SC Aviation

Shuttle America Corp.

Sichuan Airlines Co. Ltd.

Sky Regional Airlines Inc.

Sky West Airlines

Skylink Express Inc.

Skyservice Business Aviation Inc.

Solairus Aviation

Sunwest Aviation Ltd.

Sunwing Airlines Inc.

Swiss International Air Lines Ltd.

Thunder Airlines Limited

Tofino Airlines Ltd.

Transaero Airlines

Transwest Air

Turkish Airlines

United Airlines

United Parcel Service

US Airways Inc.

Vancouver Island Air Ltd.

Wasaya Airways Limited Partnership

West Coast Air Ltd.

West Wind Aviation Limited Partnership


WestJet Encore

Major Charter Services

ACASS Canada Ltd.

ACM Air Charter

ACM Aviation

Aero Jet Services


Air Alsie

Air Canada

Air Foyle

Air Rutter International

Air St Pierre

Air Transat A.T. Inc.

Airborne Inc.

All Nippon Airways

American Air Services Inc.

American Airlines

Ameristar Air Cargo Inc.


Atlas Air Inc.

Aviation Consultants Inc.

Aviation Starlink Inc.

Avjet Corporation

Bradley Air Services Limited

Canadian North Inc.

CanJet Airlines

Cargolux Airlines International

Cathay Pacific Airways

Centaero Aviation Ltd.

Chantilly Air Inc.

Chartright Air Inc.

China Airlines

Cockrell Resources Inc.

Condor Flugdienst

Continental Airlines

Delta Air Lines


Executive Flight Services

Executive Fliteways Inc.

Fast Air Ltd.

Flair Airlines Ltd.


Flight Options


Florida Jet Service Inc.

Florida West International Airlines

GainJet Aviation

Global Aviation

Golden State Air Charter

Gulf & Caribbean Cargo Inc.

Independent Flight Leasing Inc.

JAL-Japan Airlines International Co Ltd.

Jazz Air Inc.

JEM Air Holdings

Jet Access Aviation

Jet Linx Aviation

Jet Solutions LLC


Jetport Inc.

Kalitta Air LLC

Kenn Borek Air Ltd.

Key Air

Korean Air

Landmark Aviation

London Air Services Limited

Longtail Aviation

Lufthansa German Airlines

Lynden Air Cargo LLC

Miami Air International

Mountain Air Cargo

Neptune Aviation Services Inc.

NetJets Europe

Nolinor Aviation

North Cariboo Flying Service Ltd.

Oak Air Ltd.

Omni Air Express

Paradigm Air Operators Inc.

Partner Jet Inc.

Porter Airlines Inc.

Priester Aviation

Prime Jet

Provincial Airlines

Rectrix Aviation

SATA Internacional

SC Aviation


Skyservice Business Aviation Inc.

Solairus Aviation

Starbase Aviation

Sun Air Jets

Sunwest Aviation Ltd.

Sunwing Airlines Inc.

TAG Aviation

Taughannock Aviation

Travel Management Company Ltd.


Tyrolean Jet Service

United Airlines

USA Jet Airlines Inc.

VIH Execujet Ltd.

VistaJet (Austria)

VistaJet (Malta)

Volga-Dnepr Airlines LLC

Western Air Charter Inc.


WestJet Encore


Y2K Aviation LLC

Factors which may have influenced the data


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

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, 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.

On April 7th, 2016, 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.

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

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 7th, 2016, Air Canada commenced service from Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International to Jacksonville, Florida. The flights will operate two times a week.

On May 9th, 2016, Air Canada commenced service between Vancouver International, British Columbia and San Jose, California. The flights will operate twice-daily.

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.

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

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.

Effective June 16th, 2016, WestJet began service between Vancouver International Airport and San Diego, California. The flights will be offered three times a week.

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 29th, 2016, WestJet began service between Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport and Los Angeles, California. The service will operate three times each week. WestJet will be offering this route for the 3rd time which was last operated in 2008.

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

On November 18th, 2016, Hawkair Aviation Services filed for bankruptcy, suspending all operations.


January 2015 was marked by extreme cold, heavy snow and freezing rain conditions across Canada forcing delays and flight cancellations at many airports.

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.

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

In May, Air Canada expanded its international services at Vancouver International Airport, British Columbia by offering flights to Osaka, Japan. Air Canada rouge also launched a new international service from Montréal, Quebec to Venice, Italy.

Also in May, WestJet began seasonal service from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Glasgow, Scotland.

In June, Air Canada further expanded its global network with routes from Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International, Ontario to Amsterdam, Netherlands and from Montréal to Mexico City, Mexico. Also, Air Canada Rouge began a new non-stop daily seasonal service from Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport to Abbotsford, British Columbia.

In July, WestJet Encore launched new daily non-stop flights from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Deer Lake and Gander, both in Newfoundland and Labrador, and to Sydney, Nova Scotia. The airline also launched a new daily non-stop service between Moncton, New Brunswick, and Ottawa, Ontario.

In November, Air Canada launched non-stop services from Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport to Delhi, India and to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

In December, Aeromexico launched a daily non-stop service between Vancouver and Mexico City, Mexico.

In late December, a major snowstorm hit central and eastern Canada causing delays and cancellations in southern Ontario and western Quebec, including Toronto, Ottawa, and Montréal airports.

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