Airport Activity: Air Carrier Traffic at Canadian Airports, 2017

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Release date: August 2, 2018

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The number of passengers enplaned and deplaned at Canadian airports reached 149.6 million in 2017, an increase of 6.2% compared to the previous year. This marked the eighth consecutive annual increase in air passenger traffic following the economic slowdown of 2009.

The largest airports contributed significantly to the strong growth in passenger traffic, with Lester B. Pearson in Toronto up 5.9%, Vancouver International up 8.8% and Pierre Elliott Trudeau in Montréal up 9.6%.

All sectors experienced growth in 2017, as the domestic sector expanded 5.4% (+4.5 million passengers), other international traffic was up 9.6% (+2.9 million) and transborder traffic (between Canada and the United States) increased 4.9% (+1.3 million).

For the fourth consecutive year, growth in other international passenger traffic outpaced the other two sectors. This was fuelled by strong gains at Toronto/Lester B. Pearson (+9.1%), Vancouver International (+13.4%) and Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau (+12.6%). These three airports accounted for 88% of the 32.8 million passengers who enplaned and deplaned on and off international flights in Canada.

The weight of cargo loaded and unloaded at Canadian airports increased 7.4% in 2017 to just over 1.3 million tonnes. Domestic cargo increased 4.0% to 577,000 tonnes. Other international tonnages increased 13.6% to 502,000 tonnes while transborder cargo was up 3.4% to 234,000 tonnes.

Table 1
Passenger and cargo data
Table summary
This table displays the results of Table 1 Passenger and cargo data 2016, 2017 and Change 2016 to 2017, calculated using number and percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
2016 2017 Change 2016 to 2017
number percent
Enplaned and Deplaned Passengers
Domestic Segments 83,694,751 88,229,824 5.4
Transborder Segments 27,221,599 28,559,297 4.9
Other International Segments 29,976,194 32,852,551 9.6
Total 140,892,544 149,641,672 6.2
Loaded/Unloaded Cargo (tonnes) 1,223,213 1,313,376 7.4

Chart 1

Data table for Chart 1
Data table for chart 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for chart 1 Total , calculated using passengers (millions) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
passengers (millions)
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 109,360,095
2009 104,765,830
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 140,892,544
2017 149,641,672

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:

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, Table 23-10-0254-01.

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
Avianca Costa Rica
Bearskin Airlines
Beijing Capital 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
Corilair Charters Limited
Corse Air Intl.
Cubana Airlines
Delta Air Lines
Edelweiss Air
El Al Israel Airlines
Emirates Airlines
Envoy Air Inc.
Ethiopian Airlines
Etihad Airways
EVA Airways Corporation
Exploits Valley Air Services Ltd.
Flair Airlines Ltd.
Fly Jamaica Airways
FlyGTA Airlines
Global Aviation
GoJet Airlines LLC
Griffing Flying Service
Hainan Airlines
Harbour Air Ltd.
Hawkair Aviation Services Ltd.
Helijet International Inc.
Hong Kong Airlines
Horizon Air Industries Inc.
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
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
Partner Jet Inc.
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
SATA Internacional
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
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
WOW air
Xiamen Airlines

Major Charter Services

ACASS Canada Ltd.
ACM Air Charter
ACM Aviation
Aero Jet Services
Air Alsie
Air Canada
Air Foyle
Air Hamburg
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.
ATI - Air Transport International LLC
Atlas Air Inc.
Aurora Jet Partners
Aviation Consultants Inc.
Aviation Starlink Inc.
Avjet Corporation
Bradley Air Services Limited
Canadian North Inc.
Cathay Pacific Airways
Centaero Aviation Ltd.
Chantilly Air Inc.
Chartright Air Inc.
China Airlines
Clay Lacy Aviation
Cockrell Resources Inc.
Condor Flugdienst
Continental Airlines
Corporate Flight International
DC Aviation
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
Great Western Air
Gulf & Caribbean Cargo Inc.
Image Air Charter
Independent Flight Leasing Inc.
JAL-Japan Airlines International Co Ltd.
Jazz Air Inc.
JEM Air Holdings
Jet Access Aviation
Jet Exchange
Jet Linx Aviation
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.
Nolinor Aviation
North Cariboo Flying Service Ltd.
Oak Air Ltd.
Omni Air Express
Paradigm Air Operators Inc.
Partner Jet Inc.
Pentastar Aviation
Porter Airlines Inc.
Priester Aviation
Prime Jet
Provincial Airlines
Rectrix Aviation
SATA Internacional
Saturn Aviation
SC Aviation
Skyservice Business Aviation Inc.
Solairus Aviation
Southern Air
Starbase Aviation
Sun Air Jets
Sunwest Aviation Ltd.
Sunwing Airlines Inc.
TAG Aviation
Taughannock Aviation
Travel Management Company Ltd.
Tyrolean Jet Service
United Airlines
US Airways Inc.
USA Jet Airlines Inc.
VIH Execujet Ltd.
VistaJet (Malta)
Volga-Dnepr Airlines LLC
Western Air Charter Inc.
WestJet Encore
Y2K Aviation LLC

Factors which may have influenced the data


Starting February 5, 2017, Air Canada began daily year-round non-stop flights between Dallas-Fort Worth Airport and Vancouver International.

On February 16, 2017, Air Canada launched daily year-round flights from Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau International to Shanghai, China.

On March 15, 2017, WestJet launched twice daily service between Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport and Halifax/Robert L. Stanfield International Airport.

Effective March 28, 2017, Cathay Pacific increased the capacity of its flights on two routes, Vancouver-Boston and Vancouver-Hong Kong. Flights between Vancouver International Airport and Hong Kong increased from twice daily to 17 flights per week. The airline operates the new Airbus 350-900. Earlier in the year, the airline had announced a codeshare arrangement with Air Canada which allowed Cathay Pacific customers to travel to major cities across the country on Air Canada domestic flights.

On April 30, 2017, WestJet launched a daily direct flight between Winnipeg/James Armstrong Richardson International to Abbotsford.

In May, 2017, Air Canada introduced six new transborder routes, adding new service to five U.S. cities and expanding winter-only service to Phoenix, Arizona from Vancouver International to year-round. The new routes are as follows: Toronto to San Antonio, Texas (daily); Toronto to Memphis, Tennessee (daily); Toronto to Savannah, Georgia (daily); Vancouver to Denver, Colorado (twice daily); Vancouver to Phoenix (daily); and Montréal to Dallas-Fort Worth (daily).

On May 1, 2017, Air Canada commenced daily year round service between Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau International and Washington Dulles International Airport, D.C.

On May 1, 2017, Aeromexico Airlines increased capacity on all three of its existing Canadian routes, expanding Vancouver-Mexico City from 11 to 14 weekly flights, Montréal-Mexico City from 11 to 13 weekly flights and Toronto-Mexico City from 10 to 12 weekly flights. The increases will be maintained year round.

On May 4, 2017, WestJet started direct service between Calgary International and Nashville, Tennessee. The airline will operate two flights a week.

On June 1, 2017, Vancouver International Airport celebrated the inauguration of two new non-stop seasonal services; Air Canada’s daily service to Frankfurt and Air Canada Rouge’s three times a week service to Nagoya, Japan.

On June 1, 2017, Aeromexico launched non-stop service from Calgary International to Mexico City.

On June 1, 2017, Air Canada Rouge began service four times per week from Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport to Berlin, Germany.

On June 9, 2017, after a 14 year hiatus, Air Canada resumed flights between Taipei and Vancouver International. The daily direct service will be flown using a Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner configured to carry 298 passengers.

Starting mid-June 2017, EVA Air increased the frequency of its flights from Taipei, Taiwan to both Vancouver International and Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International to meet increasing demand. Daily non-stop service to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan from Vancouver began June 15 and Toronto June 16.

On June 15, 2017, WestJet began point-to-point service for the first time within the province of Quebec, with four daily flights between Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport and Québec/Jean Lesage International.

On June 24, 2017, Air Canada Rouge began daily seasonal service between Victoria International Airport and Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International using a Boeing 767. With a capacity of 280 passengers it is the largest regularly scheduled airplane to operate out of the airport. Continuation of the service will be reviewed in the fall. The airline also operates daily direct service to Toronto using an Airbus.

On June 30, 2017, Hong Kong Airlines began daily flights between Vancouver International Airport and Hong Kong, China, with an A330 aircraft featuring 18 business class and 246 economy seats. The airline plans to introduce an A350 aircraft in August.

On July 1, 2017, Air Canada launched a new three-times weekly service between Toronto/Lester B.  Pearson International and Mumbai, India. This non-stop, year round service will be operated using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

On September 12, 2017, Porter Airlines began daily service from Ottawa/Macdonald-Cartier International Airport to Fredericton International Airport, New Brunswick.

On September 21, 2017, Porter Airlines flew its inaugural non-stop flight from Ottawa/Macdonald-Cartier International Airport to Saint John Airport, New Brunswick. The flight will be operated daily with a 74-seat Bombardier Q400 aircraft.

On October 15, 2017, WestJet commenced twice daily service between Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport, Massachusetts.

In December 2017, West Wind Aviation, based in Saskatoon, Stony Rapids and La Ronge, all in Saskatchewan, voluntarily suspended all flying operations.

On December 1, 2017, Air Canada began the first ever non-stop flights between Canada and Melbourne. The seasonal service will run from Vancouver International Airport four times per week until February 4, 2018.

On December 15, 2017, Flair Air expanded its service to four new airports: Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International; Vancouver International; Kelowna, British Columbia and Edmonton International, Alberta, operating several times per week.

On December 18, 2017, Air Canada operated its inaugural flight from Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport to Cartagena, Columbia. Since the beginning of December, Air Canada also began operation of the following new services: Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International to Belize; Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau International, Quebec to Lima and Vancouver International, British Columbia to both Melbourne, Australia and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.


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.

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