Advisory Circular (AC) No. 302-032

Subject: Designation of International Airports in Canada

Issuing Office: Civil Aviation, Standards
Document No.: AC 302-032
File Classification No.: Z 5000-34
Issue No.: 02
RDIMS No.: 18771419-V10
Effective Date: 2023-08-11

Table of contents

1.0 Introduction

  • (1) This Advisory Circular (AC) is provided for information and guidance purposes. It describes an example of an acceptable means, but not the only means, of demonstrating compliance with regulations and standards. This AC on its own does not change, create, amend or permit deviations from regulatory requirements, nor does it establish minimum standards.

1.1 Purpose

  • (1) The purpose of this document is to provide guidance for airports seeking to receive official Canadian designation as “International’, in accordance with all applicable domestic and international requirements.

1.2 Applicability

  • (1) This document applies to operators of airports and Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA).

1.3 Description of changes

  • (1) Section 5.2 1) (e) revised list of applicable Government of Canada Agencies.
  • (2) Section 5.5 updated with new effective date.
  • (3) Appendix A updated with revised contact information.

2.0 References and requirements

2.1 Reference documents

  • (1) It is intended that the following reference materials be used in conjunction with this document:

    • (a) Aeronautics Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. A-2)
    • (b) Part III, Subpart 02 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs)—Airports
    • (c) Part III, Subpart 03 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) —Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting at Airports and Aerodromes
    • (d) TP 312 —Aerodrome Standards and Recommended Practices
    • (e) ICAO Annex 4 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation — Aeronautical Charts
    • (f) ICAO Annex 9 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation — Facilitation
    • (g) ICAO Annex 14 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation — Aerodrome Design and operations
    • (h) ICAO Annex 17 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation— Security
    • (i) ICAO Doc. 7100, (published annually) – Tariffs for Airports and Air Navigation Services
    • (j) ICAO Doc. 7300/9, Convention on International Civil Aviation
    • (k) ICAO Doc. 9634, North American (NAM) Air Navigation Plan
    • (l) AIP Canada (ICAO)
    • (m) TP 14371, Transport Canada—Aeronautical Information Manual (TC-AIM); and
    • (n) AC 302-012, ICAO Type A Obstacle Charts.

2.2 Cancelled documents

  • (1) By default, it is understood that the publication of a new issue of a document automatically renders any earlier issues of the same document null and void.

2.3 Definitions and abbreviations

  • (1) The following definitions are used in this document:

    • (a) Aeronautical Chart: means a representation of a portion of Earth, its culture and relief, specifically designated to meet the requirements of air navigation (ICAO Annex 4 definition)
    • (b) Convention: means the Convention on International Aviation DOC 7300 - ICAO
    • (c) Aeronautical information products: Aeronautical data and aeronautical information provided either as digital data sets or as a standardized presentation in paper or electronic media. Aeronautical information products include
      • (i) Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP), including Amendments and Supplements
      • (ii) Aeronautical Information Circulars (AIC)
      • (iii) Aeronautical charts
      • (iv) NOTAM; and
      • (v) Digital data sets.
    • (d) International airport: means any airport designated by the Contracting State, in whose territory it is situated, as an airport of entry and departure for international commercial air traffic, where the formalities incident to customs, immigration, public health, animal and plant quarantine and similar procedures are carried out. (ICAO Annex 9) (In Canada, this does not include airports serving only transborder air traffic with the USA)
    • (e) State: means the Government of Canada as signatory to the ICAO Convention and includes all appropriate federal departments and associated agencies
    • (f) Transborder: means flights between USA and Canadian airports; and
    • (g) Type “A” Obstacle Chart: means a depiction of a plan and profile of each runway regularly used by international civil aviation, any associated stopway or clearway, the take-off flight path area and obstacles, to enable air operators to comply with operating limitations (ICAO Annex 4).
  • (2) The following abbreviations are used in this document:

    • (a) AAFC: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    • (b) CARs: Canadian Aviation Regulations
    • (c) CBSA: Canada Border Services Agency
    • (d) CFIA: Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    • (e) CFS: Canada Flight Supplement
    • (f) ECCC: Environment and Climate Change Canada
    • (g) GOC: Government of Canada
    • (h) HQ: Headquarters
    • (i) ICAO: International Civil Aviation Organization
    • (j) IRCC: Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada
    • (k) PHAC: Public Health Agency of Canada
    • (l) SARPS: Standards and Recommended Practices; and
    • (m) TCCA: Transport Canada Civil Aviation.

3.0 Background

  • (1) Canada has a responsibility with regards to international air traffic in accordance with 4.2 (1) of the Aeronautics Act which states in part;

    “The Minister is responsible for the development and regulation of aeronautics and the supervision of all matters connected with aeronautics and, in the discharge of those responsibilities, the Minister may;...

    • (h) take such action as may be necessary to secure by international regulation or otherwise the rights of Her Majesty in right of Canada in international air traffic;...”
  • (2) As a signatory to the ICAO convention, Canada has an obligation under Article 10 to ensure that, subject to state regulations, aircraft entering and departing the territory do so from airports “...designated by the state for the purpose of customs and other examination”.
  • (3) In the international aviation community, the use of the term “international” in an airport name creates an expectation of the services available, such as, customs, immigration, health border and clearance services. In addition, there is an expectation of the types of facilities and level of service available, in order to process passengers and cargo in an efficient and expeditious manner. All of these services are typically provided at an official port of entry to a country.
  • (4) In Canada, the ICAO requirements are considered as part of the national regulatory requirements of the airport certification program administered under Part III Subpart 2 of the CARs. However, airports that deal solely with traffic to and from United States of America are considered “Transborder” airports and do not have to meet the requirements herein for designation as an international airport.
  • (5) The government departments and agencies that have the regulatory oversight at international ports of entry of the requirements outlined in the ICAO Annexes include Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Agriculture and Agra-Food Canada (AAFC), Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). In consultation with these stakeholders, it was agreed that Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) Flight Standards Division HQ would be the coordinating office for the designation of International Airports in Canada.

4.0 TCCA policy on airport designation

  • (1) Only airports designated by TCCA as “International” may use “INTL” or “international” in the airport header name as published in the aeronautical products. TCCA must approve the use of the term “International” or “INTL” in the airport header name prior to it being submitted to NAV CANADA and ICAO for publication. The airport’s corporate name as published in the OPR section of the aeronautical products, remains a business decision of the airport operator and is not affected by the requirements stated in this AC.

5.0 Process for designating an international airport

5.1 General

  • (1) When a business decision has been made by an airport operator to provide services to international commercial air transport operations (not solely transborder flights), the airport facilities need to be assessed against the Canadian and ICAO requirements as outlined in this AC in order to be designated as “International”.

  • (2) Where a transborder airport seeks to include the term “International” or “INTL” in the airport name presented in the site header portion of the Canadian aeronautical information products (as defined above) alignment with the elements specified in this AC is necessary before being officially designated and accepted for publication.

  • (3) Prior to submitting a request for designation as an international airport, the airport operator needs to coordinate with affected stakeholders and agencies, including their air navigation service provider.

5.2 Transport Canada criteria

  • (1) Demonstrated compliance by the airport operator is required with respect to:

    • (a) Airport certification under the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs), Part III, Subpart 02 – Airports, and TP 312– Aerodrome Standards and Recommended Practices, including a reference in the Airport Operations Manual (AOM) of the elements required for international designation and the date of designation;
    • (b) Aircraft Fire Fighting (AFF), in accordance with CAR 303.

      Note: the requirement for full scale emergency exercises at international airports is at intervals not exceeding two (2) years, consistent with CAR 302.208 (2) (a).

    • (c) ICAO Type A Obstacle Charts as per the current edition of TP312 (See ICAO Annex 4 and AC 302-012);
    • (d) The Canadian Aviation Security Regulations (CASRs); and
    • (e) The requirements of the following GOC agencies:
      • (i) Public Health Agency of Canada;
      • (ii) Canada Border Services Agency;

        Note: The CBSA is responsible for providing integrated border services that support national security, public safety priorities and facilitate the free flow of persons and goods, including animals and plants, to and from Canada while enforcing numerous acts and regulations including the Immigration Regulation and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). As a result, the CBSA will also respond on behalf of the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

5.3 ICAO standards and recommended practices

  • (1) Additional guidance on the operational needs relevant to services offered at an international airport can be found in ICAO Annex 9 – Facilitation available at Airports seeking designation as an “International airport” should consider the following elements in Annex 9:

    CHAPTER 6. International airports — facilities and services for traffic

    • A. General
    • B. Airport traffic flow arrangements
      • I. Common provisions
      • II. Aircraft parking and servicing arrangements
      • III. Outbound passengers, crew and baggage
      • IV. Inbound passengers, crew and baggage
      • V. Transit and transfer of passengers and crew
      • VI. Miscellaneous facilities and services in passenger terminal buildings
      • VII. Cargo and mail handling and clearance facilities
    • C. Facilities required for implementation of public health, emergency medical relief, and animal and plant quarantine measures
    • D. Facilities required for clearance controls and operation of control services
    • E. Unruly passengers
    • F. Passenger amenities

5.4 Review and assessment

  • (1) Airport operators must contact PHAC and CBSA directly and comply with each agency’s specific regulations and requirements. As part of the request for designation to their Regional TCCA office, airport operators need to provide a letter from each agency confirming that the necessary facilities and services are available at the airport, as part of the application for designation as an international airport.
  • (2) Once the airport has submitted a request for designation, the Regional TCCA office will conduct, an initial assessment of the airport to confirm that the requirements outlined above have been addressed.
  • (3) After satisfactory review and approval by Flight Standards Division HQ, the airport will be designated as an airport supporting international commercial air transport operations and identified as such to the international aviation community in the aeronautical information products by the inclusion of the standardized abbreviation “INTL” following the airport name in the header. The use of “International” in the header information will no longer be accepted.
  • (4) Once an airport is designated, TCCA will submit information on that airport to ICAO for publication in ICAO Document 9634 North American (NAM) Air Navigation Plan and advise NAV CANADA of the change to the header information in the aeronautical information products.
  • (5) Following designation, the elements required for International Designation will be included as part of the TCCA on-going regulatory oversight activities of the airport.

5.5 Airports currently designated as “International”

  • (1) As of the date of publication of this AC the following airports have been designated as “International”:

    • (a) CYYC - YYC Calgary International
    • (b) CYEG - Edmonton International
    • (c) CYFC - Fredericton International
    • (d) CYQX - Gander International
    • (e) CYHZ - Halifax / Stanfield International
    • (f) CYQM - Moncton / Greater Moncton Romeo Leblanc International
    • (g) CYUL - Montreal / Pierre Elliott Trudeau International
    • (h) CYOW - Ottawa / Macdonald-Cartier International
    • (i) CYQB - Québec / Jean Lesage International
    • (j) CYYT - St. John’s International
    • (k) CYYZ - Toronto / Lester B. Pearson International
    • (l) CYVR - Vancouver International
    • (m) CYWG - Winnipeg / James Armstrong Richardson International.
  • (2) If an airport is not on this list but is of the opinion that it meets all of the requirements for designation as “International” that airport should make a request for approval to TCCA in accordance with the criteria in this document no later than July 1, 2024. This date has been established to provide the required lead time to amend the aeronautical products, including the CFS and AIP Canada.
  • (3) Airports not listed above having the term “International” or “INTL” published in the header information of the aeronautical products must demonstrate to the Regional TCCA office, no later than July 1, 2024, that they meet the requirements for designation as stated in this AC to maintain their publication as such.
  • (4) Where the airport operator has not submitted the required information prior to July 1, 2024, TCCA will advise NAV Canada to have these terms removed from the header information in the relevant aeronautical products.

5.6 Removal of designation as an international airport

  • (1) If at any time in the future an airport no longer meets the requirements for designation as “International”, the airport operator must advise the regional office of TCCA of such.

  • (2) TCCA will officially acknowledge the notice from the airport operator and the abbreviation “INTL” will be removed from the aeronautical products.

  • (3) Where TCCA is of the opinion that the airport no longer meets the designation requirements, TCCA will officially advise the airport operator of the potential removal of the designation in the aeronautical products, if corrective actions are not undertaken to satisfy the requirements for continued designation.

6.0 Additional obligations

6.1 Airport operators

  • (1) The operator of a designated international airport may be requested to provide information relating to airport and air navigation service charges levied for listing in the ICAO Doc. 7100 – Tariffs for Airports and Air Navigation Services.

  • (2) ICAO Doc 7100 contains various background information, including a comparison by State of landing, take-off and passenger related charges for three different types of aircraft, exchange rates and a list showing maximum permissible aircraft weight by aircraft type. Requested information should include the following charge or fee:

    • (a) landing charges
    • (b) general terminal charges for passenger aircraft (domestic and international)
    • (c) aircraft parking charges
    • (d) daily aircraft parking charges
    • (e) monthly aircraft parking charges
    • (f) loading bridge charges
    • (g) policing and security charges
    • (h) airport improvement fees
    • (i) U.S. pre-clearance charges
    • (j) central de-icing facility charges (capital cost recovery rate)
    • (k) common use facilities fees
    • (l) turn-around charges
    • (m) landed seat fee
    • (n) air travellers security charges; and
    • (o) air navigation charges.

7.0 Information management

  • (1) Not applicable.

8.0 Document history

  • (1) Advisory Circular (AC) 302-032 Issue 01, RDIMS 15632417 (E), 16397668 (F) dated 2021-01-06 - Designation of international airports in Canada.

9.0 Contact us

For more information, please contact:
Flight Standards (AARTA)

We invite suggestions for amendment to this document. Submit your comments to:

AART Documentation Services

Original signed by

Stacey Mason
Director, Standards
Civil Aviation

Appendix A — Government of Canada department and agency contacts

  • (1) At the time of publication, subject to change without notice, the addresses of the designated authorities concerned with the entry, transit and departure of international air traffic are as follows:

    • (i) Customs and immigration:

      Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)
      Communicate with your CBSA Regional Office or Port of Entry Operations contact.
      If you do not have a regional or local CBSA contact, communicate with Border Information Services by phone or online at:
      Tel.: 1-800-461-9999

    • (ii) Health:

      Public Health Agency of Canada
      Center for Border and Travel Health