Managing noise from aircraft

Noise from aircraft is a concern for communities near airports, for the aviation industry and for travellers.

We administer aircraft noise standards, working with third parties such as Health Canada, NAV CANADA and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

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Reducing aircraft noise at the source

All Canadian aircraft must be fully compliant with rigorous international standards administered by the ICAO. The ICAO noise standards were inserted into the Canadian Aviation Regulations.

We ensure compliance with the noise standards through the aircraft certification process. The airworthiness assessment included in this process requires aircraft to meet these noise standards.

Reducing aircraft noise by changing operational procedures

Transport Canada and the aviation industry cooperate in reducing aircraft noise by changing aircraft operational procedures. This involves adding aircraft operating restrictions and noise abatement procedures.

Examples include:

  • controlling the use of runways and routes
  • adjusting procedures for take-off, approach and landing

We enforce and oversee changes to these restrictions and procedures. Airports and NAV CANADA handle day-to-day operations locally.

All aircraft operators must comply with the noise operating restrictions and noise abatement procedures, which are published by NAV CANADA in the Canada Air Pilot and the Canada Flight Supplement (contact NAV CANADA to purchase these publications). Penalties for violating these procedures and restrictions can be as high as $5,000 for an individual and $25,000 for a company. NAV CANADA updates these publications every 56 days to ensure that flights comply with the latest operating standards.

Airport noise management committees

Each airport should set up a noise management committee that includes air operators, airport tenants, civic representatives and citizen representatives. At major airports, Transport Canada also provides a member to the committee.

  1. After carrying out an extensive consultation process involving the local community and aviation stakeholders, the committee develops noise abatement proposals.
  2. Proposals are then forwarded to regional Transport Canada offices.
  3. The proposals are reviewed and forwarded to Transport Canada headquarters (HQ) along with a regional recommendation.
  4. At HQ, the Domestic Aircraft Noise and Emissions Committee (D-ANEC) studies each proposal.
    1. If all affected parties agree with a proposal, instructions are issued to the regional office to publish the proposed measure.
    2. If agreement cannot be reached, D-ANEC prepares briefing material and sends it along with a recommendation to the Civil Aviation Regulatory Committee, which makes a decision.

Reducing aircraft noise through land management

Aviation planners and those responsible for developing lands near airports are encouraged to implement smart zoning practices and proper land-use management. We provide two tools to help with such planning:

  • the Noise Exposure Forecast
  • the Noise Exposure Projection

Noise Exposure Forecast

The Noise Exposure Forecast (NEF) system provides a measurement of the actual and forecasted aircraft noise near airports. This system factors in the subjective reactions of the human ear to the specific aircraft noise stimulus: loudness, frequency, duration, time of occurrence and tone.

This metric predicts a community’s response to aircraft noise. A NEF level greater than 25 is likely to produce some level of annoyance. If the NEF level is above 35, complaints will probably be numerous. This provides municipalities and local governments with a basis for zoning; and it provides residents with a scenario reflecting expected noise levels.

We recommend against proceeding with new residential development in areas where the NEF exceeds 30. If the development does proceed, a detailed noise analysis should be conducted and noise reduction practices should be implemented. In this situation, it is the developer’s duty to inform prospective residents of potential noise problems.

Noise Exposure Projection

In addition, we recognize that provinces and municipalities require projections beyond five years for land-use planning, if conditions are certain to change over time. For these purposes, we use the Noise Exposure Projection (NEP). The NEP projects aircraft movements and other changing variables 10 to 20 years ahead, giving authorities a longer perspective for zoning.

Expressing concerns to airports about aircraft noise

To express specific concerns about aircraft noise, contact the management of the airport where the noise resulting from aircraft landing or taking off is occurring.

Each airport should have a noise management program to process complaints. Each airport should also have a noise management committee to develop related policies.

Contacting Transport Canada about aircraft noise reduction

For more information about our role in aircraft noise reduction, contact the:

Civil Aviation Communication Centre
Civil Aviation Communications Centre contact form

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