Aerodrome Safety Circular (ASC) No. 2003-020-R1

ASC 2003-020-R1


Aerodrome Certification based on "public interest" grounds.


Revision to the initial ASC 2003-020 dated 2003-10-15 (where the initial ASC included information under Application 1. “NOTE: Transport Canada will require certification of an aerodrome that has is being provided with air traffic control serve.” This criterion has been omitted and replaced by ASC 2000-020-R1 dated 2006-10-11).

The purpose of this circular is to provide aerodrome operators with guidance on the process and considerations, by which an aerodrome may be certified based on "public interest" grounds.


CAR 302.01(1)(c) provides for the certification of an aerodrome where the Minister is of the opinion that meeting the requirements necessary for the issuance of an airport certificate would be in the public interest and would further the safe operation of an aerodrome.

Since certification should always further the safe operation of an aerodrome, the application of CAR 302.01(1)(c) is dependent on the Minister being satisfied that certification would be in the "public interest".

As explained in Civil Aviation Directive No. 1, the concept of "public interest" has no fixed meaning in law and depends on the facts of, and circumstances surrounding the particular application. What is clear is that the simple "private" interests of the aerodrome owner/operator in seeking certification are not sufficient in themselves to meet the "public interest" test. The Minister has to consider a broad range of factors, consistent with his general responsibilities and authorities for aeronautics, including aerodrome activities, under the Aeronautics Act.


The following procedures and attached guidance information (Appendix “A”) are provided to assist the applicant in the preparation of a request for aerodrome certification, based on public interest grounds.

  1. The issuance of an airport certificate on public interest grounds will only be considered by Transport Canada, based on an application made by:
    (a) the aerodrome owner/operator; or
    (b) Transport Canada, Aerodrome Safety.
  2. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide evidence that certification would be in the public interest. In this regard, the applicant needs to follow a documented process for obtaining the input of all potentially affected stakeholders, including:
    • the local governments(s)/land use authority(ies);
    • aerodrome users and service providers;
    • other aerodrome and airport operators in the vicinity of the aerodrome;
    • the local business community;
    • local homeowner association(s);
    • the affected public at large; and
    • the aerodrome operator where the process has been initiated by Transport Canada.
  3. The application needs to set out:
    • why the current facilities (certified and uncertified) are inadequate, in terms of providing for and supporting economic and efficient air services;
    • anticipated economic impacts on the aerodrome that would result from its certification;
    • anticipated economic impacts on aerodrome users and other stakeholders;
    • anticipated environmental impacts; if any, and how these would be managed;
    • the identification of what stakeholders are in favour of, and which are opposed to certification; and
    • how certification of the aerodrome would improve aviation safety.
  4. On receipt of an application containing all of the above information, Transport Canada will consider whether certification of the aerodrome would be in the public interest. This decision will take into account:
    • whether existing facilities are inadequate to serve current and prospective user needs;
    • whether certification would result in positive net benefits for the aerodrome, users and stakeholders in general;
    • whether the decision has the potential to set a precedent and create other similar situations;
    • whether environmental impacts can be effectively managed; and
    • whether the owner/operator or any of their principals have an unsatisfactory aviation record.
  5. Where the local government(s)/land use authority(ies) are opposed to aerodrome certification, approval from Aerodrome Safety, Headquarters is required before proceeding with certification.
  6. Aerodromes meeting the public interest test must, of course, meet the applicable standards or otherwise be capable of being issued a certificate under CAR 302.03.
  7. Once an aerodrome is certified on “public interest” grounds by Transport Canada, it is subject to the same inspection/audit requirements as are other certified airports.


The guidance material and procedures set out in this circular must be applied whenever an application is made to certify an aerodrome on public interest grounds, as provided for in CAR 302.01(1)(c). Each application will be considered on its own merits. The interests of all stakeholders must be taken into account when determining whether certification would be in the “public interest”.

For additional information on this issue, please contact Bernard Valois of the Aerodromes and Air Navigation Branch in Ottawa, at 613 990-3708.

Aerodrome Safety Circulars are available electronically at:

D.B. Sherritt

Civil Aviation


The determination of whether or not certifying an aerodrome in the public interest must be made with respect to the circumstances of each individual case and is within the jurisdictional limitations of the Aeronautics Act.

It is not sufficient for certification of a site that the aerodrome be considered “safe” and “commercially viable” for the applicant.

The factors relating to the impact of safety on the community at large must be examined.

The consequence of an aerodrome being certified must be considered in terms of the needs of, or benefits to the aviation public and the local community; consequences which may be of commercial or practical convenience, or necessity of the operation.

Certification of an aerodrome under the public interest applicability of CARs Part III, Subpart 302 should enhance the aviation industry in general and be in the interest of the majority of stakeholders and not just the aerodrome or the community.

It must take into consideration the impact of the decision on the applicant, the general public and other members of the aviation industry.

The economic impact of certification of the aerodrome as well as the status quo should be examined both from the aerodrome operator’s perspective as well as the community at large.

Substantiation of meeting these factors shall be documented through a consultation process involving all affected parties. Where one of these factors cannot be supported, the use of public interest for certification or denying certification is not justified.

It is the responsibility of the initiator of the request for certification of an aerodrome under public interest to substantiate the above requirements. This would normally be either Transport Canada or the aerodrome operator.

Transport Canada, Aerodrome Safety must ensure that it has the resources available to conduct the required airport inspection program for the new airport.


1) Pacific Region
Aerodromes and Air Navigation
820-800 Burrard St.
Vancouver, B.C.
V6Z 2J8
Phone (604) 666-2103
Fax (604) 666-1175

2) Prairie & Northern Region
Aerodromes and Air Navigation

PO Box 8550
344 Edmonton
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Phone (204) 983-4335
Fax (204) 983-0281

1100 Canada Place
9700 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
T5J 4E6
Phone (780) 495-3850
Fax (780) 495-5190

3) Ontario Region
Aerodromes and Air Navigation
4900 Yonge St.
Suite 300
North York, Ontario
M2N 6A5
Phone (416) 952-0335
Fax (416) 952-0050

4) Quebec Region
Aerodromes and Air Navigation
700 Leigh Capréol, Suite 4086
Dorval, Quebec
H4Y 1G7
Phone (514) 633-3252
Fax (514) 633-3052

5) Atlantic Region
Aerodromes and Air Navigation
P.0. Box 42
95 Foundry Street
Moncton N.B.
E1C 8K6
Phone (506) 851-3342
Fax (506) 851-3022