Transportation in Canada 2011

Air Transportation

An economic downturn. Record-high fuel prices. New entrants to the field soaring to success; new tools and policies advancing safety and security. 2007–2011 was an eventful half-decade for Canada's aviation sector.

6.1 Overview of Air Transportation

Air transport is an important component of Canada's overall transportation mix, with local, regional, national and international airlines flying passengers and cargo to destinations across the country and around the world.

Canada's air sector depends on its 1,889 aerodromes1, including 26 airports that are part of the National Airports System2 ( NAS ); 570 certified airports, heliports and waterdromes that support scheduled and non-scheduled flights; and 1,297 registered aerodromes and 22 other aerodromes (see Addendum Table A1). Of Canada's aerodromes, more than 55% are land aerodromes, 26% are heliports and 19% are water aerodromes. NAS airports3 are owned by Transport Canada and operated by non-for-profit, non-share capitalairport authorities. Canada's 26 NAS airports handle roughly 90% of all scheduled passengers and cargo volumes in Canada, are particularly important to Canada's trade (see Addendum Tables A22, A23, A24, and A25) and tourism industries, and contribute to national prosperity and international competitiveness. Canada also has smaller registered and certified airports and certified heliports, some of which serve communities without highway access—places where aviation is the only year-round transportation option.

At the end of 2011, 1,497 air operators held 2,224 Transport Canada-issued air operator certificates4: 768 were domestic, 358 were scheduled international and 1,098 were non-scheduled international licence authorities (see Addendum Table A6). Canada is home to large international air carriers, such as Air Canada, WestJet, Jazz, Air Transat and Sunwing as well as a number of smaller regional carriers and freighter operators.

Transport Canada sets and enforces all airport safety and security standards, certifies and regulates all airports, and ensures that Canada's more than 34,000 civil aircraft (see Addendum Table A9) conform to national and international standards.

The Canadian Transportation Agency—an independent, quasi-judicial, federal administrative tribunal with a mandate set out in the Canada Transportation Act—administers the air transport licensing regime. That regime requires domestic air services operators—in addition to having an operating certificate issued by Transport Canada—to be majority-owned and controlled by Canadians and have proper liability insurance. The Canadian Transportation Agency also verifies the financial fitness of applicants starting operations and oversees licensing of international scheduled and non-scheduled services to and from Canada, administering the permit system for international charter operations. This protects advance payments received by airlines for international passenger charter flights originating in Canada.

Scheduled international commercial air transport services between two countries are governed by bilateral air transport agreements. Since the inception of the Blue Sky Policy in 2006, Canada has proactively pursued more liberalized agreements. By the end of 2011 Canada had bilateral air transport relations with 98 partners, including open agreements covering 40 countries (see Addendum Table A12).

A large proportion of aircraft in Canada is used for general aviation ( GA ), often the only service provided in many Canadian airports, particularly in Northern Canada as well as the first rung in the career ascension of aspiring pilots and aircraft mechanics.

NAV CANADA, a privately run, not-for-profit corporation that owns and operates Canada's civil air navigation system, oversees the safe and orderly flow of air traffic in Canadian airspace, in compliance with provisions in the Aeronautics Act.

Finally, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority ( CATSA ) is responsible for security screening at designated Canadian airports and operates under provisions in the Aeronautics Act. CATSA is a Canadian Crown corporation created in 2002 under the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority Act and reports to the Government of Canada through the Minister of Transport.

6.2 2011 Year in Review

Economic Framework and infrastructure

  • In 2011, passenger traffic at Canadian airports increased by 2.5% compared to 2010, to a total of 78.4 million travellers. Year over year, domestic, Canada-U.S. and other international traffic increased by 2.4, 1.6 and 0.4%, respectively. Overall, Canadian airports weathered the economic downturn of 2008–09 successfully and are now positioned for growth. (see Addendum Tables A19A and A19B)
  • In terms of carrier-specific performance, Air Canada and its regional affiliates transported almost 34 million passengers and posted a load factor5 of 81.6%, while WestJet carried more than 16 million passengers and posted a load factor of 79.7%. Porter Airlines carried 2.1 million passengers and posted a load factor of 61.7%. Major scheduled carriers and charters reported an overall load factor of about 73% in 2011 compared to 74.1% in 2010.
  • From a financial standpoint, of note in 2011:
    • Air Canada reported a net loss of $249 million on revenues of $11.6 billion. Its EBITDAR 6 was $1.2 billion and its operating profit was $179 million. WestJet reported a net profit of $148.7 million on revenues of $3.1 billion. Its EBITDAR was $596.8 million and its operating profit was $256.6 million.
    • Chorus Aviation, parent of Jazz Aviation, reported a net profit of $68.1 million on revenues of $1.7 billion. Its EBITDAR was $38 million and its operating profit was $102 million.
    • For the fiscal year ending October 31st 2011, Transat A.T. a tour operator that owns Air Transat, reported a net loss of $12.2 billion on revenues of $3.7 billion. It should be noted that these figures reflect the entire group and not just the Air Transat component, which is not reported separately.
  • Canada's air cargo trade in 2011 grew 9.2% from 2010 to reach $110 billion, with the volume of revenue cargo coming into and being sent from Canadian airports totalling 739 million tonnes, a 9.1% decrease from the previous year (see Table A19C).
  • Canada's passenger air carriers continued to tightly manage supply, keeping it balanced with demand; 2011's high load factors demonstrate the success of these efforts. Most carriers' yields7 improved reflecting their ability to increase fares and offset higher costs—such as fuel—while maintaining and even improving viability. In 2011, Air Canada reported a 3.3% increase in yield compared to 2010, while WestJet reported an 8.3% increase. That said, seat sales remained common, particularly among carriers serving the Eastern Triangle (Montreal-Toronto and Toronto-Ottawa).
  • Clause 27 of An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and the Railway Safety Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts came into effect, setting in motion the development of regulations by the Canadian Transportation Agency—regulations that will require air carriers operating in Canada to reflect all fees and taxes in their advertised fares. Air Canada, WestJet and Porter began voluntarily advertising all inclusive fares during the winter of 2012.
  • In 2011, Canada concluded new or expanded air transport agreements with a number of countries around the world. These countries included Brazil, Mexico, Japan and China. In addition, other agreements were negotiated in 2011 but had not yet been announced at time of printing.
  • The year 2011 witnessed a few changes on the aviation landscape (see Addendum Table A11). Most importantly, in May, Sky Regional, a division of Skyservice Business Aviation, launched its operations under the Air Canada Express banner, offering 93 flights per week (up to 15 flights per day) between Montreal and Toronto Island (Billy Bishop Airport) with a fleet of five Canadian-built Bombardier Q-400. This marked a return of the Air Canada brand to the Toronto Island airport after a five-year hiatus.
  • A number of new routes were launched by Canadian carriers in 2011. Amongst them, Air Canada started new flights between Gander and Toronto, Montreal and Antigua as well as new flights to Toronto Island. WestJet launched new routes between Orange County and either Vancouver or Calgary and between Las Vegas and Prince George, Hamilton or London, as well as a number of new routes to Mexico or the Caribbean. Air Transat began serving Istanbul and Lisbon from Montreal, Birmingham or Faro from Toronto and Glasgow or Manchester from Calgary or Vancouver. Finally, Porter Airlines opened three new destinations from Toronto Island: Charlottetown, Sault Ste. Marie and Burlington, Vermont.
  • Three new international carriers began year-round scheduled service to Canada in 2011: Qatar Airways started thrice-weekly service between Montreal and Doha using a Boeing B-777-200 aircraft; China Southern started three weekly flights between Vancouver and Guangzhou, also with a Boeing 777-200; and COPA launched four flights a week between Toronto and Panama City using a Boeing B737-700. (see Addendum Table A14)
  • On the cargo side, China Southern inaugurated the first freighter service between Vancouver and Mainland China, with three weekly Boeing 777-200F flights to Shanghai. Qatar Cargo launched a weekly Boeing 777-F freighter flight between Luxemburg, Toronto and Chicago, and Icelandair returned to Halifax with a weekly Boeing 757-F freighter flight between New York, Halifax, Reykjavik and Liege. The year 2011 also saw three significant foreign carriers exit the Canadian market: Virgin America, which terminated its two daily flights between Toronto and California (San Francisco and Los Angeles), Astraeus which terminated its seasonal flights between Deer lake and Reykjavik and Lan Chile, which put an end to its five weekly flights to New York and Santiago, Chile (see Addendum Tables A13 and A14)
  • On October 30, 2011, a new 51,000-m2 terminal building was opened at the James Armstrong Richardson Winnipeg International Airport. This terminal building, with an annual capacity of 5 million passengers, was designed by the world famous architect César Pelli. The new terminal is considered to be one of the greenest in North America and cost $200 million. The project is part of a $585-million redevelopment plan at the airport. The new terminal, with its 11 jet bridges and seven ground-loading gates replaces the older terminal built in 1964—now slated for demolition—that had 10 jet bridges and one ground-loading gate.
  • The redevelopment of Edmonton City Centre Airport (Blatchford Field) continued in 2011 with the award by the City of Edmonton of a contract to create a master plan for the 217-hectare site. The airport still has one active runway and a NAV Canada control tower.


  • The domestic aviation sector produced 8.5 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent ( CO2e ) in 2008 (see figure EN7). Of domestic greenhouse gas ( GHG ) emissions created by transportation, 5% were generated by aviation—only 1% of Canada's total emissions.
  • In 2009, aviation accounted for the following from the transportation sector: 2% of PM 2.5 emissions, 6% of SOx emissions, 7% of NOx emissions, 2% of VOC emissions and 1% of CO emissions8 (See figure EN8).
  • Canadian aviation fuel standards for Jet A and Jet A-1 fuels9 were amended in 2011 to allow up to a 50% blend of synthetic source material in jet fuel, which could reduce net GHG emissions.
  • The International Civil Aviation Organization's ( ICAO ) Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection ( CAEP ) continued to work on its priorities of developing emissions standards for CO2 and for particulate matter.


  • In 2011, Canada recorded the lowest total number of accidents (211) for Canadian registered aircraft excluding ultralights since 1976 when the Transportation Safety Board of Canada began recording such data (see Addendum Tables S18 to S21).
  • Globally, 2011 was a very good year for aviation safety with 0.37 accidents per million departures by Western-built jets10, down from 0.61 in 2010, according to the International Air Transport Association. This represents one accident per 2.7 million flights.
  • Two Canadian carriers had accidents in 2011: First Air in Resolute Bay; and Arctic Sunwest Charters in Yellowknife. The first accident, involving a Boeing B-737, resulting in the deaths of 12 people while the second, involving a DeHavilland DHC-6, resulted in the deaths of both of the aircraft's pilots.
  • Canada and China signed a technical agreement to streamline Chinese certification of the Bombardier CSeries airliner. This could help the future CSeries and other Canadian-built aircraft better access to this market; it is already estimated that over the next 20 years China will import 1,400 aircraft with 100- to 149-seat capacities, such as the CSeries.
  • Transport Canada repatriated full responsibility for certification and oversight of business aviation operating under a Private Operator Passenger Transportation Certificate.11 This was previously delegated to the Canadian Business Aviation Association.
  • The Canada-European Union Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement came into force in 2011. Under this agreement, the European Aviation Safety Agency ( E ASA ) will recognize certification of Canadian aviation products and services and vice versa, allowing the Canadian aviation industry to be more competitive in the European market. E ASA and Transport Canada will also work together to enhance civil aviation safety by resolving safety issues.
  • Transport Canada proposed regulations requiring private and commercial aircraft with six or more passenger seats to install and operate Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems ( TAWS ). These provide aural and visual alerts to flight crews when an aircraft's path is predicted to collide with terrain, water or obstacles. TAWS increase the time available to flight crews to take corrective action.


  • In 2010, the federal government provided long-term funding for the Air Cargo Security Program, aiming to make this element of Canada's growing trade and economic networks more secure. In 2011, the program changed from a voluntary/non-mandatory pilot project to a formal, regulated program that specifies how air cargo is accepted, handled and transported. Significant effort has been invested in working with partner countries and organizations to create common standards, definitions and procedures that will improve the security of air cargo internationally.
  • Transport Canada pre-published the Canadian Aviation Security Regulations, 2012 in the Canada Gazette, Part I, the Government of Canada's official newspaper—marking Transport Canada's first step toward renewing aviation security regulations in response to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. This renewal will also make aviation security regulations less burdensome to industry, and more user-friendly.
  • Transport Canada announced improvements to the systems for screening passengers and their belongings, including new equipment and lane configurations that improve the flow of passengers and bags through security screening checkpoints at major Canadian airports. Transport Canada made changes to the list of items passengers cannot bring with them onto aircraft. Small scissors and tools not longer than six centimeters (excluding the handle) are now permitted in carry-on baggage. Please turn to Section 6.7 for more details.
  • The Government of Canada budgeted $21 million over five years to upgrade elements of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority's checked baggage screening equipment that are reaching their end of life. Under the terms of the 2011 Action Plan on Perimeter Strategy and Economic Competitiveness, as these upgrades are completed, air travellers flying from Canadian sites with U.S. pre-clearance facilities will no longer be required to have their baggage re-screened if connecting at a U.S. airport, making connections through U.S. cities easier and reducing the risk of bags not being placed on connecting flights. While these changes will make Canada–U.S. air travel more convenient, they will also maintain a high level of security.

6.3 2007–11 Recap

Economic Framework and Infrastructure

In the 2007–2011 period, two new Canadian air carriers set up operations at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport: Porter Airlines and Sky Regional (operating as Air Canada Express). Launched in October 2006, Porter Airlines now flies a fleet of 26 Canadian-built Q400s to 13 Canadian and six American cities, and has become the second most prominent carrier in the busy Montreal–Toronto–Ottawa triangle. Of Canada's major scheduled air carriers, Porter Airlines has experienced the most dramatic growth during this five-year period, while WestJet significantly expanded its international network.

A number of Canadian carriers entered and exited the market between 2007–2011, with the most notable entry being Sky Regional Airlines and exits including leisure carriers Harmony Airways in 2007, Zoom Airlines in 2008 and Skyservice Airlines12 in 2010.

The peak crude oil price of U.S. $147 per barrel in July 2007 presented the industry with record fuel costs. The collapse of petroleum prices worldwide following the global financial crisis that began in 2008 was unforeseen, leaving a number of commercial air carriers with higher-priced fuel hedge arrangements for some of their fuel requirements. To this day, managing fuel-cost fluctuations remains an important challenge for air carriers.

The recession of 2009–10 produced the worst economic climate since the Great Depression, with decreased discretionary spending causing soft demand. Capital costs rose amid tighter credit conditions, as did fuel prices. Although many in the air carrier industry maintained tight control over capacity and controllable costs during the recession, some carriers (notably Porter and WestJet) continued to grow.

Over the 2007–11 period, Air Canada saw its revenues rise from $10.6 billion to $11.6 billion, while net income went from a $429 million profit to a $249 million loss. At WestJet, revenues rose by nearly half, increasing from $2.1 billion to $3.1 billion, a situation due largely to the carrier's fleet expansion over the period, going from 70 to 97 aircraft. WestJet's net profit, however, went from $189 million to $148 million. During the period, fuel cost per litre rose by 29.9% at Air Canada and 27.1% at WestJet while both yield and load factor stayed relatively constant. This increase in fuel price largely explains why the two carriers' increased gross revenues did not translate into higher net earnings.

Several airports expanded or opened new terminal buildings between 2007 and 2011, including Quebec City (2008), Kuujjuaq (2008), Halifax (2009), Winnipeg (2011) and Edmonton (completed in early 2012).

Canada's three largest airports have looked to air-rail links to alleviate some roadside access challenges. Vancouver was first with the Canada Line in 2009. Toronto–Pearson is expected to follow suit in 2015 with the Union Station-Pearson Airport Air Rail Link and Montreal is currently studying building a link between the airport and downtown. Air–Rail links are further explained in Section 8.4. Meanwhile, Toronto Island Billy Bishop Airport is planning to augment its ferry service between Toronto Island and Eiranne Quay at the foot of Bathurst Street with an 250 metre underwater pedestrian tunnel expected to cost $86.2 million and to be completed in 2014.


Between 1990 and 2008, GHG emissions from domestic aviation rose from 6.4 Mt to 8.5 Mt—an increase of 2.1 Mt CO2e at an average annual growth rate of 1.6% (34% overall) (see Addendum Figure EN3). While this increase was caused by a rise in total passenger kilometres, it was also mitigated by improvements in aircraft efficiency and the replacement of older and less efficient aircrafts.

Transport Canada expects domestic air traffic to grow at an average annual rate of 2.8% until 2020, and international air traffic to grow at an annual rate of 4.4%. This in turn will mean higher aviation-related GHG emissions for Canada. Domestic GHG emissions are forecasted to climb by 31% between 2008 and 2020, from 8.5 Mt to 11.1 Mt (an average of 2.2% per year).13

Canada has continued to actively participate in the International Civil Aviation Organization Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection in leadership roles, by providing expert technical advice to working groups and economic and forecasting advice to support groups. Canada's participation contributes to the successful development of environmental standards and best practices that will lead to reduced noise and air pollutant and GHG emissions, both nationally and globally.


In 2009, Canada celebrated its 100th anniversary of powered flight. During the 2007–11 period, Canada also experienced significant changes in the approach to aviation safety since that first powered flight by the Silver Dart in 1909.

Internally, Transport Canada began reorganizing its aviation safety directorate to more closely relate to today's operating environment. Transport Canada also introduced modern management concepts, practices and processes to strengthen internal systems and advance aviation safety.

Externally, Transport Canada continued overseeing the implementation of the Safety Management System ( SMS ). In 2008, Canada's largest passenger air carriers completed implementation of SMS . Since then, Transport Canada has conducted SMS assessments of all Canada's airlines to verify that the SMS in these companies is effective and contributes to a healthier safety culture within the organization.

Today, SMS policies, processes, procedures and systems cover more than 90% of revenue passenger kilometres.

Other notable highlights during this period include:

  • In June 2007, Transport Canada introduced regulations14 requiring Canadian commercial aeroplanes to be equipped with an Airborne Collision Avoidance System ( ACAS ). ACAS reduces the risk of mid-air collisions by identifying the presence of a nearby aircraft and providing a visual notification and an audio warning to avoid a loss of separation.
  • At the European Union–Canada Summit held in Prague, Czech Republic in May 2009, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso signed the Canada–European Union Agreement on Civil Aviation Safety. The agreement came into force on July 26, 2011.
  • In the fall of 2010, officials from approximately 190 member countries attended the ICAO 37th General Assembly in Montreal. Canada was re-elected to the Council, ICAO 's executive body. At the assembly, Canada confirmed its commitment to increasing aviation safety. ICAO also supported the concept of a State Safety Program, an initiative already in development in Canada.
  • In November 2010, an amendment to the Canadian Aviation Regulations15 limiting the departure speed of aircraft to a maximum of 250 knots came into effect. Lower-speed take-offs reduce the risk of mid-air collisions, particularly with birds, which can result in aircraft damage and injuries to passengers and crew.


In January 2007, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority ( CATSA ) implemented its mandated program for screening airport workers and non-passengers. The program involves the random selection and screening of airport employees, flight crews, construction personnel and other non-passengers (and their belongings) who enter restricted airport areas. CATSA was also already administering the Restricted Area Identity Card ( RAIC ) at Canada's 28 major airports16—the first dual biometric (iris and fingerprint) airport access identification system for non-passengers to be used anywhere in the world. Overall, the combined programs represent a significant improvement to Canada's aviation security system.

In June 2007, Transport Canada introduced a program to prevent people who may create an immediate security threat from boarding commercial flights. Called the Passenger Protect Program, it works by maintaining a Specified Persons List that the Government of Canada provides to air carriers. Air carriers must screen all passengers for flights to, from or within Canada against the persons on this list. If a person is on the list and Transport Canada suspects that they may pose a threat, the department can disrupt their ability to cause harm or threaten aviation by taking action, such as preventing them from boarding an aircraft.

In response to new terrorist tactics, Transport Canada introduced millimetre-wave full-body screening technology at major Canadian airports in 2010. By the end of 2011, 53 such scanners had been deployed at 23 airports. Transport Canada is also exploring the benefits of advanced auto-detection software for this equipment, and will consider deployment of the software at Canadian airports.

Between 2006 and 2009, Transport Canada designed and tested various elements of an improved Air Cargo Security Program with the goal of improving air cargo security—an important part of Canada's trade and economic networks. The aim is to achieve air cargo security compatibility with the highest standards in the world. In support of the initiative.

6.4 Economic Framework and Infrastructure

Canadian commercial air carriers

Canada is home to a wide variety of air carriers, including the following:

Air Canada, Canada's largest airline and the world's 15th-largest passenger airline (in terms of passenger volume) as of 2010. Air Canada, with a workforce of 23,700 employees in 2011, transports passengers and cargo to 181 destinations worldwide on both scheduled and chartered flights. Air Canada has a mainline fleet of 205 aircraft, augmented by 157 aircraft flying under the Air Canada Express banner. A founding member of the Star Alliance (see Addendum Map 10)—the largest airline alliance in the world, started in 1997—Air Canada also has a freight carrying division, Air Canada Cargo. Air Canada's network is enhanced by five regional airlines—Jazz Air, Air Georgian, Exploits Valley Air Services Ltd., Sky Regional Airlines and Central Mountain Air—primarily operating feeder flights (i.e. connecting smaller cities with Air Canada's domestic hub airports) under the Air Canada Express brand, code-sharing agreements with more than 20 airlines and Air Canada Vacations, a tour operator subsidiary offering a full collection of leisure travel packages.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. provides scheduled and charter air service to 76 destinations in Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. Canada's second-largest carrier, WestJet also has code-share agreements with five foreign carriers17 and interline agreements with 15 foreign carriers. WestJet employs 7,141 people, or “WestJetters” and finished 2011 with a fleet of 97 aircraft, all Boeing B-737.

Jazz Aviation LP, a former subsidiary of Air Canada, now controlled by the holding company Chorus Aviation. Jazz Aviation's activities as a regional feeder for Air Canada make up its core operations. Operating 133 aircraft under the Air Canada Express banner, with 15 more on order, Jazz services 53 Canadian and 28 U.S. destinations; it serves more Canadian points than any other airline. Jazz began diversifying in 2010 by operating six Thomas Cook Airlines-owned Boeing 757s under the Sunquest banner; this activity was terminated in April 2012. Jazz finished 2011 with 4,777 employees.

Air Transat, a business unit of integrated international tour operator Transat A.T. Inc. Air Transat is a holiday travel airline that carries millions of passengers each year to destinations around the world, with a fleet of 23 Airbus wide-body jets18, supplemented by additional service supplied by CanJet's fleet of Boeing B-737.

Porter Airlines, a regional airline headquartered in Toronto operating regularly scheduled flights between Toronto and 1919 Canadian and American locations. Porter flies 26 Canadian-built Bombardier Dash-8 Q400 turboprop aircraft.

Canada is also home to some air cargo carriers, such as:

Kelowna Flightcraft Air Charter, which operates Canada's largest cargo airline, and has long-term operating leases with both Purolator Courier and Canada Post. Kelowna Flightcraft operates 23 aircraft, including 18 under the Purolator banner.

Cargojet, which is Canada's second-largest all-cargo airline. Cargojet operates an overnight network of 13 freighter aircraft flying to 12 destinations coast to coast, as well as from Newark, New Jersey to Bermuda and Hamilton, Ontario to Katowice, Poland. Cargojet transports small parcels for large integrators such as UPS, as well as heavy and containerized freight. It employs about 400 people.

Many other Canadian airlines also offer passenger and/or cargo services. These include, among others, Sunwing, CanJet, First Air, Canadian North, Air North, Air Creebec, Air Inuit, Bearskin Airlines, Perimeter Airlines, Air Express Ontario, Air Labrador, Provincial Airlines, Air Saguenay, Flair Airlines, Kenn Borek Air and Propair.

The industry as a whole faced many challenges in the wake of nearly frozen commercial credit markets following the global financial crisis that began in the fall of 2008. This provoked a liquidity crisis at Air Canada in particular. Air Canada has since undertaken to financially and operationally restructure, focusing on key objectives including tight supply management, attracting higher-yielding premium-paying traffic, and containing its controllable costs through a Cost Transformation Program, which in 2011 generated operational savings and revenue gains in excess of its $530 million year-end target by the end of the third quarter of 2011.

WestJet remains one of the few consistently profitable air carriers in North America. The company embarked on its next stage of growth by migrating its internal computer reservation system ( CRS ) to a Sabre platform in 2008. The new system has allowed WestJet to merchandise its services and expand its network by aligning with other air carriers, including Cathay Pacific, American Airlines, Air France-KLM, Korean Airlines, EL AL Israel Airlines, Emirates and Air India. 2011 also saw WestJet successfully bid for 16 landing/takeoff slots at LaGuardia Airport in New York City, potentially increasing its appeal to business traffic between Canada and the United States. WestJet plans to use these slots to launch a new Toronto-LaGuardia service in June 2012.

Canada's northern-based air carriers continued to evolve and serve the unique needs and operating conditions of Canada's North. These carriers serve a widely dispersed market of approximately 110,000 people from networks built around four hubs situated at Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet, Yellowknife and Whitehorse. With relatively little in terms of surface infrastructure, Canada's North is highly reliant on air transportation for the supply and movement of cargo (e.g. food, fuel) as well as passenger services (including emergency medical evacuations). The region is, however, rich in natural resources, which has been driving increased economic activity. Both WestJet and Air Canada started new services to Yellowknife and Whitehorse. Air Canada also began offering services to Iqaluit from Ottawa and Montreal in March 2010, but withdrew from that market in July 2011.

In the coming years, high fuel costs will continue to challenge the air industry, as will intense competition, while margins will continue to be thin in many markets. Some airlines—notably Air Canada—also face the challenge of negotiating new labour agreements. Environmental considerations—for example, emissions trading and noise—will increasingly factor into airlines' operational decisions as they seek ways to mitigate their environmental footprint.

As a result of a decision by the Canadian Transportation Agency, beginning in January 2009, Air Canada, Jazz and WestJet, which provide the majority of domestic air service in Canada, offer a second seat free of charge to passengers with disabilities travelling in Canada who require an attendant or additional seating for themselves due to their disabilities.

Twelve air carriers have adopted a Multiple Format policy for persons with disabilities, and will provide information on services in alternate formats, such as electronic, audio, large print, and Braille upon request.

Blue Sky Policy and air transport services agreements

On November 27, 2006, the Government of Canada introduced the Blue Sky Policy, a new international air transportation policy to help further connect Canadians to the world. The policy calls for a proactive approach to negotiating expanded air transport agreements, recognizes the unique characteristics of Canada's aviation market, and provides guidance on dealing with situations where:

  • country-specific discriminatory airport access and/or facilitation issues seriously limit the ability of Canadian airlines to operate services to another country;
  • the business environment presents major obstacles—such as fund transfers and provisions on double taxation—to Canadian airlines' commercial operations;
  • foreign carriers appear to be contravening rational business principles or are protected from normal market conditions, resulting in a markedly unbalanced playing field; or
  • foreign carriers would be reasonably expected to offer a level of service that would significantly reduce or effectively eliminate competition in some markets/routes, resulting in a net loss for Canada.

When one or more of these situations arise, a more gradual approach to expanding the bilateral air transport agreement is advocated.

Since the launch of the Blue Sky policy, the Government of Canada has negotiated air transport agreements covering almost 60 countries, in addition to the Open Sky agreement already in place with the United States, including:

  • Open Skies-type agreements with 12 countries: Ireland, Iceland, New Zealand, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, South Korea, Jamaica, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, El Salvador, and Brazil;
  • Expanded agreements with nine countries: Mexico, Japan, Jordan, Singapore, the Philippines, Morocco, Egypt, Cuba and Algeria; and
  • New ‘first-time' agreements with nine countries: Kuwait, Serbia, Croatia, Panama, Turkey, South Africa, Ethiopia, Qatar and Tunisia.

A comprehensive air transport agreement between Canada and the European Union's 27 member states was also signed in 2009. This includes countries with which Canada did not previously have air transport agreements—Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Including the Open Skies agreement Canada signed with the United States, Canada has also negotiated open agreements—accelerated under the Blue Sky Policy—with 40 countries20 that represent more than 72% of Canada's international air passenger traffic and 90% of Canada's overall air merchandise trade.

Current trends in global alliances

Airline industry consolidation continued during the period covered by this report as legacy carriers struggled with the economic downturn, increased domestic competition and fluctuating fuel prices. In the United States, the industry witnessed the mergers of U.S. Airways and America West, Delta and Northwest, United and Continental; in Europe, the mergers of Air France and KLM; and British Airways and Iberia; while in Latin America, two competing groups, LAN and TACA, have established a network of national carriers. The global economic shift toward Asia and the emergence of mega-carriers in Latin America and the Middle East may accelerate consolidation in the coming years, increasing the levels and forms of airline collaboration aimed at improving operational efficiencies and reducing cost structures.

The emergence of Metal Neutral Joint Ventures ( MNJV s) as a form of cooperation is the latest attempt by legacy carriers to settle into the new competitive landscape. MNJV s involve full coordination of major airline functions (e.g. revenue management and marketing/sales), and allow airline partners to share information about pricing, capacity and frequency. Examples of approved MNJV s include Lufthansa-All Nippon Airways ( ANA ), United/Continental- ANA , American-Japan Airlines ( JAL ), Delta-Virgin Australia, American-Qantas, and the most recent STAR Alliance MNJV (Lufthansa-United-Continental-Air Canada) in the transatlantic market, known as Atlantic++.

So far, only one MNJV has been approved by Canadian competition authorities: the Atlantic ++ Joint Venture on transatlantic routes involving Air Canada, Lufthansa, and United-Continental. This MNJV was granted antitrust immunity by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2009. In 2011, Canada's Competition Bureau challenged a proposed second MNJV focused on transborder flights and composed of Air Canada and United/Continental. The Bureau has referred the issue to the Competition Tribunal.


The effectiveness of Canada's airport and air-navigation sector is recognized domestically and internationally, with highlights from the past few years including:

  • the Greater Toronto Airport Authority ( GTA A ) winning an International Air Transportation Association ( IATA ) Eagle award in 2010 for outstanding performance in customer satisfaction, cost efficiency and continuous improvement;
  • NAV CANADA winning the IATA Eagle award in 2010 and 2011 for best air navigation service provider in the world;
  • the Vancouver International Airport winning the Eagle award in 2007 for outstanding performance in customer satisfaction, cost efficiency and continuous improvement;
  • Ottawa MacDonald–Cartier International airport being ranked number one in North America and number two in the world in 2011 among airports serving two to five million passengers by the Airports Council International ( ACI ) Airport Service Quality ( ASQ ) Awards; and
  • Since 2002, Halifax Stanfield International Airport has won 16 first prizes in various categories at the ACI ASQ Awards, in addition to finishing second or third eight other times.

Airport authorities across the country have spent billions on capital programs to improve and expand their airports (see Addendum Table A2). For example:

  • in 2007, Vancouver International Airport completed a $1.4-billion capital program that included a four-gate expansion to the International terminal;
  • the Greater Toronto Airports Authority completed its airport development program in 2007 and the expansion of Terminal 3 in 2010; airport development over the last 15 years has resulted in more than $5 billion spent; and
  • Calgary International Airport is in the midst of a $2-billion airport development program expected to be completed by 2015, which will include a new runway (to be opened in 2014) and a new international terminal (to be opened in 2015) (see textbox below).

New Runway at Calgary Airport

Construction of a fourth runway at Calgary International Airport began in April 2011 and is expected to be completed by May 2014. The new 4,267-m (14,000-ft) runway—the longest in Canada—will be able to safely accommodate the largest aircraft flying today. Built on a north-south axis, it will be located 2,170 m east of the existing runway 16-34 (currently the longest at the airport), and will run parallel to it. Parallel runways with such spacing between them drastically increase an airport's capacity by allowing simultaneous operations on each runway—reducing delays that the airport authority estimates would exceed an average of 10 minutes by 2013. The airport authority expects the airport's runway system capacity to increase from 250,000 movements per year to 350,000 once the project is completed. This $620-million project is financed entirely by the Calgary Airport Authority and is part of a $2.05-billion project that will also see the construction of a new 22-gate international terminal building. Funding from these projects come from the airport improvement fee charged by the airport.

Canada's large airports (see Addendum Map 5) are not the only ones enjoying success: airports in Gander, Deer Lake and Fort McMurray all enjoyed strong growth in 2011, as their passenger traffic grew by 18.9%, 8.6% and 6.9% respectively.

NAS airports offer such features as accessible parking, accessible washrooms, relieving areas for service animals, TTY phones for persons with hearing impairment, and accessible local transportation from the airport. These air terminal operators have also adopted a Multiple Format policy.

Several airports have won accessibility awards for their inclusive design. The Vancouver International Airport won the Rick Hansen Accessibility Award, and provides such features as elevators with voice “floor callers”, tactile maps of the terminal buildings, and high-contrast floor markings for passengers with visual impairments; dedicated video monitors for passengers with hearing impairment; and lift-equipped shuttle bus service from parking lots. The Ottawa International Airport won the City of Ottawa Accessibility by Design award, and the Edmonton International Airport received several awards for accessibility, including the inaugural Percy Wickman Accessibility Award in recognition of its commitment to making the airport one of the most accessible in Canada.

Funding of the Air Transport System

There are a number of different economic models around the world that determine who will pay for the air transportation system. The degree to which users, or the general taxpayer shoulder the burden of paying for the air transport system varies from country to country. Some countries have a system that is far more based on the ‘user-pay' principle for all or almost all aspects of the system, others provide substantial funding from general government revenues.

Canada's air transportation system is based on the ‘user pay' principle, minimizing the burden to taxpayers. Canadian airlines, air navigation services and most National Airport System ( NAS ) airports are operated by private entities—independent of government—that must recoup their costs to remain viable. This is done most often through various fees (see Addendum Table A5 for airport improvement fees at NAS airports) and surcharges charged to the user. All airline tickets contain a number of additional surcharges, fees and taxes beyond base airfare. Canadian federal government charges are the Goods and Services/Harmonized Sales Taxes, and the Air Travellers Security Charge. In addition, some taxes or charges do not appear on an airline ticket but are rather incorporated into the base fare. This includes the federal fuel excise tax (which applies only to domestic flights) and airport rent at larger, federally owned airports. Together these represent a small share of overall ticket prices, which fluctuate depending on the route and fare basis.

Cross Border Leakage

One issue that has been raised by stakeholders is the fact that many Canadians travel across the border by car to fly out of U.S. airports located in close proximity to Canada. The primary reason cited for this is the disparity in total airfares between the two countries. In addition to base fares (before the addition of charges, fees, and taxes) which are often substantially lower in the U.S., the number and amount of charges, fees and taxes are often higher for flights originating in Canada. This reflects not only the greater use of the user-pay system in Canada, but also the charges levied by the U.S. on flights coming into that country, which are not levied on flights originating in the U.S. The precise number of Canadian passengers flying from U.S. airports is difficult to ascertain, although anecdotal evidence suggests it is in the millions. There is also anecdotal evidence to suggest U.S. passengers drive across the border to fly out of Canadian airports, although in this case it appears the reason is choice of destinations rather than cost. Again the precise numbers are difficult to determine.

General aviation ( GA )

Of the close to 35,000 aircraft registered in Canada,21 some 85% are operated for GA purposes.

Canada's GA component has a fleet of over 29,000 aircraft out of a total of 34,947 Canadian-registered aircraft. GA aircraft flew a total of more than 1.7 million hours in 2010. The Private Owners segment represents a third of the GA fleet and reported in 2010 an average of 42 hours of flight time per aircraft. The most active GA segment is Air Taxi Operators, whose 2,752 aircraft reported flying an average of 131 hours each in 2010. About 50% of balloon operations—which also fall under the banner of GA —are used to generate revenue, while the remainder are dedicated to private recreation. Also in this component, ultra-light aircraft are used principally for recreational purposes (8–12%); amateur-built aircraft are almost exclusively recreational, with less than 6% devoted to commercial use.

The fractionally owned partnerships ( FOP ) segment of Canadian GA is similar in concept to the time-sharing of aircraft. Owners are primarily concentrated in a small number of markets (i.e. Toronto, Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver). In 2008, FOP s involved 32 aircraft, each logging 459 hours of average annual use—a very small proportion of total GA activity. This contrasts with U.S. FOP operators who have an average fleet of 190 aircraft, with each aircraft flying 800 to 1,000 hours a year.

Flight training also falls under GA activity, and has become an important Canadian export to countries such as China. Canada's small airports and flight schools provide an array of flight training programs for foreign pilots, with the Flight Training segment of GA (639 aircraft) flying an average of 328 hours per aircraft—a total of 5.3% of GA activity.

Close to 1,900 aerodromes across Canada host GA operations.22 While most do not host regularly scheduled air services, these smaller aerodromes connect the communities they serve to the rest of the country. They facilitate GA and other activities, such as operating as bases for aircraft designed to fight forest fires or infestations (such as the pine-beetle), medical evacuation (i.e. ‘medivac'), disaster evacuation and recovery, or aerial mapping and cartage for natural resource development. However, access to aerodromes and airports remains a persistent GA issue. Some small aerodromes face financial viability and noise issues, or pressure to redevelop their land with more lucrative real estate projects. Meanwhile, some larger airports with limited space and capacity would prefer to focus on commercial air services rather than general aviation. These pressures are already impacting GA , forcing it to relocate some of its activities.

6.5 Environment

Air pollution and emission mitigation

Airports and noise

Aircraft noise pollution is produced by any aircraft or its components, during various phases of flight: on the ground while parked such as from auxiliary power units, while taxiing, during take-off, over-flying while en route, or during landing. Areas most affected are those in the immediate vicinity of airports, underneath and lateral to departure and arrival paths. There is often a trade-off that takes place between air emission and noise, where improvements in fuel consumption can lead to increase in noise and vice-versa.

Airports are heavily involved in community relations programs and stakeholder consultation mechanisms related to noise.

Transport Canada implements regulations that adopt the latest international aircraft noise emission standards, and supports individual airport noise-management programs by enacting enforceable noise-abatement procedures and restrictions that address local concerns.

Air transport and pollutants

Air pollutant emissions from aircraft engines include NOx (nitrous oxide), CO (carbon monoxide), SOx (sulfur oxide), volatile organic compounds ( VOC s), and particulate matter. These emissions occur during all phases of flight and affect local air quality (see Addendum Figure EN6).

Greenhouse gas emissions ( GHG s)

The most significant greenhouse gas emitted by aviation is carbon dioxide, a product of fuel burn.

Jurisdiction of environment and air transportation

Aviation is an internationally integrated but nationally regulated industry—integrated when it comes to international air operations but still operating within the confines of a regulatory framework that governs the degree of integration. The industry operates within a framework of rules and standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization ( ICAO ), including those established by its environmental committee, the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection ( CAEP ). Transport Canada represents the Government of Canada at ICAO and CAEP , and has exercised its mandate for managing both domestic and international aviation emissions.

The Aeronautics Act, administered by Transport Canada, provides broad regulation-making authority over airlines, airports, airspace and aircraft through certification and regulation. The certification process is regulated by the Canadian Aviation Regulations made pursuant to the Aeronautics Act, and is applicable to aircraft both manufactured and registered in Canada. Under the 1944 Chicago Convention, the same rules—including those related to environmental protection—must be applicable to both the domestic and international aspects of aviation.

Trend of domestic aviation GHG emissions

Aviation accounts for a little more than 5% of all transportation-related SOx and NOx emissions, but contributes about 2% or less to the transportation-related emissions of other air pollutants (see Figure EN4).

Emissions in general increased between 1990 and 2009, with SOx by 1,756 tonnes; NOx by 23,898 tonnes; and VOC s by approximately 3,358 tonnes. PM 2.5 and CO decreased by 96 tonnes and by approximately 6,745 tonnes, respectively (See Figure EN8).

Reducing aviation emissions

International emissions

The aviation sector contributes 2% of global GHG emissions.23 Given the international nature of aviation, Transport Canada participates at ICAO to develop global policy positions on aviation emissions.

At the ICAO 's General Assembly in 2010, member states adopted a resolution on aviation and climate change.24 It set several voluntary goals for international aviation emissions, including:

  • a global annual average fuel efficiency improvement of 2% until 2020;
  • a medium-term aspirational goal of keeping global net carbon emissions from international aviation from 2020 at the same level; and
  • a global aspirational goal of 2% annual fuel efficiency improvement from 2021 to 2050.

To help ICAO track progress towards reaching these goals, the resolution encourages member states to submit action plans detailing specific measures to address GHG emissions related to international aviation to ICAO by June 2012. Canada supports the resolution's stated goals, and intends to submit an action plan explaining how the Canadian aviation industry will reduce GHG emissions.

Canadian aviation industry's voluntary agreement and action plan

Despite high and increasing demand for airline services in Canada, significant progress has been made to mitigate the sector's carbon footprint through voluntary measures undertaken by industry, the Government of Canada and NAV CANADA.

In June 2005, Canadian air carriers and Transport Canada signed the world's first voluntary agreement to address GHG emissions from both domestic and international aviation operations. This agreement established Canada ( A TAC ) and the National Airlines Council of Canada ( NACC ) report annually on the amount of fuel burned and activity measures such as available-seat kilometres.25

As of 2009, Canada's aviation industry's fuel efficiency had improved by 1.9% annually since 1990—a 30% cumulative improvement—surpassing the agreed-upon goal in the voluntary agreement. Though in absolute terms domestic and international emissions have grown at an annual average rate of 1.4% between 1990 and 2009 (see Figure EN7), this increase would have been significantly higher without these fuel efficiency improvements.

In March 2010, Transport Canada and aviation stakeholders from the aerospace industry—air carriers, airports, the air navigation service provider, and the business aviation sector—formed a Working Group on Aviation Emissions. The Working Group provides a collaborative forum for information sharing and discussion, and is developing an action plan to reduce GHG emissions from the Canadian aviation sector between now and 2020. The action plan will form the basis of the Canadian government's response to the ICAO resolution of 2010.

NAV CANADA also supports pollution-prevention programs, focusing on performance-based navigation, en-route surveillance and communication, airspace utilization and airport operations. NAV CANADA estimates that, between 1997 and 2009, newly deployed navigation technologies and procedures have helped air operators save more than two billion litres of jet fuel—representing about 5.4 million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions—with additional reductions of more than three billion litres of jet fuel from these measures expected by 2016 (representing about eight megatonnes of CO2 emissions over this 20-year period).26

Measuring airport emissions

Since the early 1970s when concerns were first raised regarding airport source impacts on ambient air quality, Transport Canada has supported air quality assessments at airports. More recently, domestic and international concerns surrounding GHG emissions and their effect on climate change have led the Canadian aviation industry to actively employ and conduct research into a variety of GHG reduction strategies including airspace optimization, new aircraft design, new low-carbon aviation fuels, and operation and market-based measures. Such strategies are often multi-purpose—for example, a given strategy may reduce GHG emissions while also providing cost and operational efficiencies.

Working in partnership with the Canadian Airports Council ( CAC ), Transport Canada developed a methodology and tool for conducting GHG emissions inventories at Canadian airports. Inventories have been completed for 26 NAS airports and the airports owned and operated by Transport Canada. The airports have established baseline inventories that indicate operational opportunities to reduce airport related emissions. This tool is currently being updated for use globally in cooperation with Airport Council International ( ACI ), and will be available in the spring of 2012.

Transport Canada continues to work cooperatively with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration ( FAA ) and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration ( N ASA ) as a funding sponsor for PARTNER : the Partnership for Air Transportation Noise and Emissions Reduction. PARTNER is a long-term partnership of academia, industry and government established to create a world-class consortium closely aligned with national and international needs to foster breakthrough technological, operational, policy and workforce advances for the betterment of mobility, the economy and the environment.

Reducing emissions through regulation and best practice guidance

Transport Canada is the lead federal regulatory department for aviation emissions. Because of the global nature of the industry, the department's regulatory framework aligns with international standards and recommended practices developed and adopted by the ICAO .27

ICAO emissions standards are published in Annex 16 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, Volume I Aircraft Noise and Volume II Aircraft Engine Emissions. ICAO developed these standards through its Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection ( CAEP ), a committee where Transport Canada actively participates on technical working groups to develop environmental standards according to the underlying principles of technical feasibility, economic reasonableness and environmental benefit, while also taking into account the environmental interrelationships. Current ICAO emission standards limit noise from aircraft and emissions of NOx , unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and soot from aircraft engines. The latest ICAO standard for NOx emissions for new aircraft engines will take effect in 2013.

CAEP 's current priority is the development of a CO2 standard for fixed-wing aircraft, which is targeted for 2014. CAEP is also developing a certification requirement in support of a non-volatile particulate matter standard applicable to aircraft engines, to be ready for 2016; a standard for volatile particulate matter will subsequently be developed. Transport Canada is providing expert technical advice as well as forecasting and economic analysis support to the task groups developing these new standards. Once completed and adopted by ICAO , Canada will also adopt the new particulate matter and CO2 standards.

With respect to noise, CAEP continues to improve certification methods for cost-effective ways of limiting exposure to noise that may be experienced in the communities surrounding airports.

In collaboration with key aviation stakeholders, including international bodies such as ICAO , Transport Canada is undertaking research and development ( R&D ) in an effort to reduce aviation emissions. Current R&D activities include: standard development for aviation particulate matter emissions; GHG climate modeling to assess aviation impacts in Arctic atmospheric regions; and assessment of cleaner alternative aviation fuels.

Alternative fuels

The potential use of alternative fuels is being examined as an important part of the global strategy to reduce aviation emissions of CO2 . Air quality benefits will also be realized, as feedstocks for sustainable biofuels do not contain sulphur; the use of biofuels will therefore result in the reduction of SOx emissions and substantial reductions in particulate matter emissions. Canadian researchers and stakeholders are conducting biofuel research to assess the viability of alternative aviation fuels, and to evaluate the potential effects on engine operations.

In 2011 the Canadian General Standards Board ( CGSB ) amended Canadian aviation fuel standards for Jet A and Jet A-1 to allow up to a 50% blend of synthetic source material in jet fuel.

Land pollution and remediation

The impact of air transportation on the environment goes beyond air quality and emissions issues. Federal contaminated sites are a legacy of past practices, the environmental consequences of which were not fully understood at the time. The Government of Canada has responded through the establishment of the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan ( FCSAP ) Program in 2005. FCSAP is a cost-shared program that helps federal custodians to address eligible contaminated sites for which they are responsible. Transport Canada is a participant of this program and support's the program's objectives of reducing risks to human health and the environment and associated financial liability resulting from federal contaminated sites. Looking to the air transportation sector, the department's remediation of the Fort Nelson airport is an example of how historical contamination can be successfully remediated.

Fort Nelson Airport environmental remediation

As part of the transfer agreement of the Fort Nelson Airport to the local municipality, Transport Canada agreed to address the multiple contaminated sites at the airport totaling an estimated 165,000 m3 of contaminated soil—enough to cover more than 25 football fields with soil one metre deep. A 1997 Environmental Baseline Study identified 56 areas of concern. Remediation work began in 1999 and was scheduled to be completed in 2015. The project was accelerated between 2009 and 2011 as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan. During that period, 52,000 m3 of contaminated soil was placed in an on-site soil treatment facility and an additional 22,200 m3 of soil was remediated to below commercial industrial levels and is now available for re-use as backfill. Over 60% of the airport land is now remediated and work continues on the remaining areas.

Water Pollution from Glycol

There are two types of glycol used in aircraft de-icing:

  • Ethylene glycol, an organic compound widely used as automotive antifreeze and a precursor to polymers. In its pure form, it is an odorless, colorless, syrupy, sweet-tasting liquid.
  • Propylene glycol is also an organic compound, which is colorless, nearly odorless, clear, viscous liquid with a faintly sweet taste, hygroscopic and miscible with water, acetone, and chloroform.

Aircraft de-icing and anti-icing fluids are a glycol based temperature depressant. Both ethylene and propylene glycols are used, however, ethylene dominates as it is a lower freezing point depressant. De-icing fluid is sprayed hot to aid in the removal of contaminants (frost, snow and or ice) off the wings and fuselage of an aircraft. Anti-icing fluid is sprayed cold and prevents snow and ice from remaining on the aircraft as it takes off. Transport Canada regulations prohibit aircraft departures with contaminated wings.

In the mid-1990's, Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada developed a 100mg/l glycol end of pipe guideline for the release of glycol into a receiving stream. All Canadian airports have developed operational procedures and built the appropriate control structures to control the release of glycol into the receiving streams to meet this guideline. During snowfalls, or precipitation of any kind, the airport's deicing pads are used exclusively. Glycol is contained and collected from the de-icing pads and is directed to storage lagoons located on the airport grounds.

Examples of glycol management/de-icing operations:
  • Toronto-Pearson airport allows frost de-icing on-gate with specific control and cleanup procedures. For snow and ice de-icing, the airport developed an infield centralized pad, the largest in Canada, capable of de-icing up to 12 aircraft simultaneously. This pad is underlain by a plastic membrane to ensure contamination is not released to the environment.
  • Vancouver switched to a single contractor for all aircraft de-icing in 2009, which enabled a centralized management of all aircraft de-icing and improved data tracking. New de-icing equipment is fitted with high efficiency nozzles that allow removal of snow or frost with lower volumes of fluid; glycol blending has been implemented to reduce the concentration of chemical used and therefore reduce overall chemical use by at least 30%; in 2010–11, a trial of forced air equipment to pre-treat aircraft showed a 50% reduction in de-icing chemical used and de-icing bay time.
  • Aéroports de Montréal ( ADM ) initially invested nearly $40 million in the construction of a centralized de-icing centre at Montréal–Trudeau airport that allows used de-icing fluids to be recovered via a system of underground pipes. This system protects nearby streams from these fluids. An additional investment will be made in 2012 to increase by nearly 50% the capacity of the de-icing centre. In addition, de-icing trucks are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including sensors, to achieve more targeted delivery of glycol and increase its effectiveness. This reduces the quantity of glycol used while ensuring compliance with the most stringent safety standards.
  • In St. John's in 2007, a centralized de-icing facility and pad was constructed; all glycol was processed on site and residual shipped out of process for recycling. In 2011 an on site 3.8 million litres glycol effluent storage tank was constructed; and in 2012, a feasibility study was completed to construct an engineered wetland to process spent glycol;
  • Ottawa has a bio-treatment system that collects all surface water in the vicinity of the central de-icing facility. Bacteria treat the glycol underground and degrade the glycol to acetate (i.e. vinegar) and the vinegar is then degraded naturally.
  • Winnipeg constructed a central de-icing facility ( CDF ) in 2005 capable of retaining and storing 11 million litres of glycol. In 2012, the airport will construct additional supporting infrastructure, including a second cell adjacent to the glycol retention pond and an additional force main to transfer fluid between the 2 cells and ultimately to the sewer for disposal.
  • Finally, Kelowna is considering a glycol blending facility, which will reduce the glycol consumption considerably. The airport authority is in the initial stages of their evaluation, but hopes to have it ready for implementation for the 2012–13 de-icing season.

6.6 Safety


Canada has one of the safest air transportation systems in the world. During the last decade, the rate of air transportation accidents has considerably declined from nearly eight accidents per 100,000 hours flown in 2000 to fewer than six in 2011—a drop of 25%. The total number of yearly accidents has also declined: the numbers reported in the last four years—211, 234, 231 and 234—are the lowest recorded figures in 15 years (see Tables S18 and S19). In fact, that's more than 40 fewer accidents a year when compared to the previous 10-year average, an indicator of Canada's solid aviation safety record.

Several key factors during the last few years have shaped the state of aviation safety today.

Foremost, Transport Canada has taken increasing steps to harmonize Canadian and international aviation safety policies, programs and standards, including in such areas as pilot licences, aircraft safety equipment and language proficiencies for communications with ground crews. In 2010–2011, Transport Canada participated in bilateral meetings with China, Korea, Israel, Brazil, Mexico, Singapore, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, the EU and the United States to discuss various aviation safety issues.

Transport Canada also works through the ICAO to advance Canadian interests— ICAO is the Montreal-based UN agency responsible for the safe and cooperative development of international civil aviation and of which Canada is a founding member. The department provides technical experts to assist in the development of standards and recommended practices for international civil aviation. Member states are expected to include these standards and recommended practises in their laws and regulations. Departmental experts also participate in several international panels, working groups and committees, including the SMS International Collaboration Group, the Best Practices Panel and the Western Hemispheric Dialogue. The goal of these activities is to advance worldwide aviation safety.

Airline operations

Number of Airline Operators ( CAR 705) Certificate holders: 39

Airline transportation remains one of the safest means of travel for Canadians. During the last five years, Canadian-registered airlines operating under the Canadian Aviation Regulations ( CAR s) have averaged 3.6 accidents a year for an accident rate of 0.11 per 100,000 airline movements. Despite these trends, another trend, the rise in airline traffic, continues to spur numerous efforts to make this mode of transport even safer.

In November 2010, Transport Canada published regulations28 prohibiting high-speed aircraft departures in Canada. Lower-speed take-offs reduce the risk of mid-air collisions—particularly with birds—which can result in aircraft damage and injuries to passengers and flight-crew members. Minimizing the risk of bird strikes can also reduce flight delays, cancellations and aircraft downtime. This is one in a series of smaller, incremental measures adopted during the last five years to improve airline safety.

SMS , on the other hand, was neither a small nor an incremental change. In fact, it is likely the largest shift in safety ethos in decades. SMS involves strengthening the safety culture within an airline by requiring that airline to design safe policies, processes and procedures to identify, assess and address safety risks. SMS organizations have processes in place to monitor, investigate and learn from every safety-related incident or issue.

Today, Canada's largest passenger air carriers operate with SMS policies, processes, procedures and systems, and Transport Canada has completed SMS assessments on all large operators. The results of these findings, along with further observations from Transport Canada inspectors and a report from the Auditor General of Canada, revealed that there were opportunities to improve, standardize and advance SMS , something Transport Canada is working towards.

NACC carriers have collectively embraced the principles of safety management systems and embarked on a journey which brought about a fundamental change in the industry's culture towards safety. Today, I can state unequivocally that such a transformation has taken place at all levels within our member airlines; employees, managers, and the highest echelons of the corporation up to the CEO level are engaged.

Captain Jacques Mignault Safety Subcommittee National Airlines Council of Canada

SMS represents the next step in making our exceptionally safe air transportation system that much safer.

Small air operators

Number of Air Taxi Operator Certificates ( CAR 703): 538

Number of Commuter Air Operator Certificates ( CAR 704): 89

When discussing safety, it is important to note the distinction between the two categories of smaller commercial air passenger transportation: air taxi operations, whose aircraft have nine or fewer passenger seats; and commuter operations, whose aircraft have 10–19 passenger seats.

During the last five years, the safety of commuter operations is comparable to airline operations, averaging four accidents a year. Within that period, air taxi operations have averaged more than 40 accidents per year, a figure that is neither unprecedented nor abnormal when compared with worldwide figures for this type of air travel. In 2010 and 2011, air taxi accidents fell to 38 and 40 accidents respectively.

In June 2007, Transport Canada significantly enhanced the safety of CAR 703 and CAR 704—air taxi and commuter air—operations by introducing regulations29 requiring Canadian commercial airplanes to be equipped with Airborne Collision Avoidance Systems ( ACAS ), which function independently of ground-based air traffic control. ACAS reduces the risk of mid-air collisions by identifying the presence of a nearby aircraft and providing a visual notification and an audio warning to avoid a loss of separation.

Air taxi and air commuter operations are slated to adopt SMS over the course of a three-year phase-in period that will begin after SMS regulations for these sectors come into force (the date for which has not yet been fixed). To provide additional time to refine procedures, training and guidance material based on inspector and industry feedback, Transport Canada delayed SMS implementation for smaller operators, and also developed an action plan to strengthen SMS implementation.


Floatplane operations, which largely fall into the air taxi category of operations, drew public attention in 2010 after a series of fatal accidents, prompting Transport Canada to implement an updated safety awareness campaign for floatplane passengers and operators, and conduct more unplanned inspections to ensure that floatplane companies are operating safely.

In October 2010, Transport Canada held a floatplane safety workshop in British Columbia to further improve the safety of floatplane operations. The workshop provided a forum for industry leaders and Transport Canada specialists to assess risk-mitigation strategies, including the use of pop-out windows and portable flotation devices ( PFD s), and resulted in the formation of the Floatplane Operators Association30, a group committed to advancing floatplane safety. Transport Canada is also in the process of proposing regulations that would require floatplane passengers to carry PFD s and crew members to undergo egress training to help passengers and crew members safely and quickly exit the plane in an emergency.

In relation to floatplane safety, Transport Canada also issued a Civil Aviation Safety Alert31 ( C ASA ) on June 3, 2011 recommending the adoption of these four floatplane-safety best practices:

  • use of upper body restraints by passengers in the front seat;
  • comprehensive safety briefing to passengers, including proper usage of personal flotation devices during and after an evacuation;
  • emergency evacuation training for flight crew; and
  • adoption of aircraft-safety design improvements to facilitate evacuation.

The European Aviation Safety Authority ( E ASA ) subsequently recommended that the European floatplane industry adopt these practices.

Business aviation

Number of Private Operator Certificates ( CAR 604): 200

Canada's civil aviation system has two primary categories of aviation activities: commercial—operators holding a 703, 704 or 705 operating certificate—and private. Private operations can be further subdivided into business and personal operations, with business aviation operations consisting of an aircraft or fleet of aircraft operated by a business to transport passengers (for example, employees or clients).

Business aviation has historically been one of the safest sectors of air transport, a trend that has continued through the last five years with two business aviation accidents recorded.

Due to the safety record of this sector, regulatory amendments came into effect in 2005 allowing the Canadian Business Aviation Association ( CBAA ) to issue certificates and monitor operations of business aviation operators as a regulated third party. However, after determining the Canadian public would be best served if these activities were handled by the government, the Minister of Transport announced that effective April 1, 2011, Transport Canada would take back the certification and oversight functions for business aviation from the CBAA . With this change, Transport Canada is now responsible for issuing operating certificates to new applicants as well as processing changes to existing certificates.

Transport Canada intends to publish new regulations for this sector in Canada Gazette, Part II, in 2012— currently the department exercises its authority through an Interim Order.32

General aviation

With 35,000 civil aircraft, Canada has the second largest civil aviation aircraft fleet in the world. Its commercial sector ranges from international scheduled services to small, one-aircraft charter companies and business aircraft operators, and the number of light recreational aircraft increases every year.

Personal aviation accounts for the majority of air transportation accidents, averaging 111 per year for the last five years; flight training follows with an average of 39 accidents per year, while aerial work averages approximately 23 per year.

Considering the nature of these operations, personal aviation is not expected to have a safety record that is on par with other forms of aviation.

Because general aviation continues to be an essential component of the Canadian lifestyle—connecting Canadians in large and small communities, contributing to the health of the economy and creating jobs—the aviation community depends on a safe, accessible and growing general aviation sector. Increasing costs, increasing regulations and decreasing airspace and airport accessibility dissuade many from participating in personal aviation.

As a result, introducing new regulatory amendments to enhance the safety of this sector can be a complex process as any initiative that includes a price tag can further restrict the viability of this sector.

In overseeing this sector, Transport Canada attempts to balance safety with sustainability.

Aeronautical products, certification and airworthiness

Aircraft maintenance

In Canada, approximately 904 aircraft maintenance organizations verify that all aeronautical products in Canada are maintained to national and international airworthiness standards. More than 14,000 aircraft maintenance engineers ( AME s) licensed by Transport Canada perform tasks according to approved maintenance programs to verify the continued safety of the aircraft. If any faults are detected—in the aircraft structure or systems and controls, for example— AME s take the appropriate actions to get the aircraft back in the air.

The aerospace industry in Canada is experiencing unprecedented growth. Each year, Transport Canada approves more than 1,500 new and modified aeronautical products built or operated in Canada. Products range from advanced aircraft, avionics and electronics to space products and services. For example, in November 2010, Transport Canada certified the Bombardier Aerospace CRJ1000. Annual sales of Canadian aerospace products and services total more than $20 billion—exports account for roughly 80% of this figure.

Due to the significant economic contribution of this sector, Transport Canada must not only be timely and thorough in its certification process, but also create the right conditions for prosperity. In relation to the former, Transport Canada attempts to find the right balance between speed and process.

Transport Canada specialists review and verify design and performance data, supervise and perform ground and flight tests, and award the Transport Canada Type Certificate. Transport Canada is also responsible for the continuing airworthiness of aeronautical products. In relation to the latter, Transport Canada pursues agreements with civil aviation authorities worldwide to facilitate the export of Canadian aeronautical products. On July 26, 2011, a Canada-European Union Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement ( B ASA ) came into force. Under the agreement, the European Aviation Safety Agency ( E ASA ) will recognize certification of Canadian aviation products and services, allowing the Canadian aviation industry to be much more competitive in the European market. Civil aviation safety will also be enhanced, as E ASA and Transport Canada will work cooperatively to resolve safety issues. A similar agreement was signed between Canada and the United States in 2000, and has had a positive effect on Canada's civil aviation industry.

Transport Canada is also working with the Federal Aviation Administration ( FAA ) to streamline FAA validations of Canadian design approvals in support of the business needs of the Canadian aviation industry.

Airports and aerodromes

When discussing aerodromes and the safety of Canadian airports, runway safety has been a prominent talking point. On March 16, 2010, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada ( TSB ) indicated that further measures were needed to reduce the risk of landing accidents and runway overruns at Canadian airports.

In response, Transport Canada is proposing regulations that will require certain designated certified aerodromes to install and maintain a Runway End Safety Area ( RESA ). Transport Canada is also revising TP 312 – Aerodrome Standards and Recommended Practices33 in cooperation with industry experts. The updated version will address additional visual aids for pilots to help assess landing distances, Canadian and international RESA standards, and the engineered material arresting system ( EMAS ) as an added safety measure. Transport Canada is committed to conforming to ICAO 's standard for a 150 metre-long RESA .The department has also begun a risk assessment of increasing the RESA to 300 metres.

Transport Canada has also taken added measures to increase the safety of runways during Canada's unique winters and issued several advisory circulars to reduce the risk of aircraft colliding with vehicles or other aircraft on the ground at Canadian airports.

Engineered material arresting system ( EMAS )

Engineered material arresting system ( EMAS ) is an example of a ground arrestor system. Located beyond the end of the runway, EMAS is designed to stop an overrunning aircraft by exerting deceleration forces on its landing gear. Applying EMAS can mean the difference between an accident and a minor incident. EMAS is a soft ground arrestor, which deforms under the weight of the aircraft tire as it runs over it. As the tires crush the material, the drag forces decelerate the aircraft and bring it to a safe stop. EMAS is popular in the U.S at airports that have difficulties complying with FAA rules on runway safety.

Air navigation

In Canada, NAV CANADA—a not-for-profit private company—provides national civil air navigation services, such as air traffic control, flight information and weather briefings, and oversees more than 12 million air traffic movements a year, including global air carriers entering Canadian airspace.

In early 2011, air traffic control safety came under scrutiny after several lone air traffic controllers were found to be sleeping on duty in the U.S. During this time, Canada's air traffic control system was touted as one of the safest and most successful systems in the world, due in part to NAV CANADA's policies that help avoid problematic situations such as those that occurred in the U.S. For example, NAV CANADA controllers do not work alone and they must have at least 10 hours off between shifts. NAV CANADA also permits naps to mitigate the effects of fatigue, if needed.

NAV CANADA won its third Eagle Award34 in 2011, which is given to the world's best air navigation service provider by the International Air Transport Association ( IATA ). The Eagle Award honours outstanding performance in customer satisfaction, cost efficiency and continuous improvement.

In addition to the national services provided by NAV CANADA, approximately 200 other organizations provide air navigation services on a local or regional basis. Transport Canada regulates and oversees this industry to verify its safety.

On December 21, 2011, air navigation safety was further improved when amendments to the Canadian Aviation Regulations came into force requiring a person responsible for a building, structure or object constituting an obstacle to air navigation to mark and light that obstacle. The amendments removed the necessity to use ministerial orders for the same purpose, which was a slower process that resulted in longer exposures to unsafe situations.

Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast ( ADS-B )

On January 15, 2009, NAV CANADA began implementing the use of ADS-B in Northern Canada. ADS-B is a next generation air traffic surveillance system that uses a global navigation satellite system, aircraft avionics, and ground infrastructure to automatically transmit flight information between aircraft and air traffic control every second. This information includes aircraft identification, position, altitude and velocity. The benefits of ADS-B include enhanced safety by increasing the areas of surveillance coverage and fuel savings related to the opportunity for more user preferred routes. ADS-B will reduce separation minima for equipped aircraft and allow more aircraft to follow the most efficient flight trajectory.

NAV CANADA plans to install ADS-B initially in areas where radar services are not offered. When this is complete, Canadian airspace will be fully covered with radar and/or surveillance. Transport Canada does not mandate ADS-B in Canada, though its use is growing and may eventually replace the current ground-based radar surveillance system to some extent. In March, 2011, Transport Canada issued guidance material for aircraft owners and air operators regarding airworthiness and operational approval in relation to ADS-B .

Research and Development to improve aviation safety

Transport Canada's Transportation Development Centre ( TDC ) is currently carrying out R&D that aims to address two important aviation safety concerns: ground and airborne icing. Advances in materials and ice engineering over the past 20 years have led to the development of innovative technologies and materials that may significantly reduce ice accumulation on aircraft surfaces. Consequently, ongoing R&D activities of the Cold Climate Aviation Technologies ( CCAT ) program are investigating ice-phobic materials, alternative de-icing technologies and remote sensor technologies to enhance air safety and assess the effectiveness, usefulness and cost feasibility of these emerging technologies.

The CCAT R&D initiative aims to address important aviation safety concerns via the development of innovative solutions to ground icing and airborne icing of aircrafts. Through extensive R&D work and effective partnerships with organizations including the Federal Aviation Administration ( FAA ) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ( N ASA ), the National Research Council ( NRC ) and Environment Canada ( EC ), the TDC has begun to carry out multiple aviation R&D activities, is investing close to $2M (million) in R&D funding over three years and during this time is leveraging over $12M from all its partners on various projects taking place worldwide.

R&D activities focusing on ground icing are carried out at various sites in Ottawa including the NRC 's Propulsion and Icing Wind Tunnel ( PIWT ), the Climactic Engineering Facility ( CEF ) and Montreal's Pierre-Elliot Trudeau ( PET ) and Mirabel Airports. These sites allow the research teams to conduct controlled simulations of precipitation including snow or ice pellets and observe their interactions with anti-icing fluids, ice phobic coatings and other technologies in development that may enhance air safety. The PIWT permits the use of a cross-section of model Regional Jet ( RJ ) wing and the replication of aircraft takeoffs in cold climate conditions thus permitting R&D teams to capture data and record observations that can help assess overall effects of new technologies.

The CEF is central into assessing the thresholds and limits of de/anti-icing fluids and observe interactions of new products in simulated precipitation conditions; new fluids that are being developed that aim to leave a significantly lower environmental footprint compared to their predecessors and products inherent with ice phobic properties are constantly in development. The CEF can replicate outdoor temperatures into the lower -40 Celsius range on a year-round basis thus providing the TDC R&D teams with a suitable environment where various precipitation conditions (freezing rain, freezing fog) can be replicated in a controlled environment. The PET and Mirabel test sites also allow the R&D team to conduct seasonal outdoor simulations and full scale testing of aircraft and emerging technologies.

The impacts of climate change on Canada's northern transportation system may be significant. Current practices to ensure the safety of aircraft activities can create additional pressures on sensitive ecological regions. Further R&D in de/anti-icing technologies may lead to important advancements and could alleviate these risks in the future.

Through the CCAT initiative, Transport Canada is investing significant R&D resources to contribute to an international partnership between industry and government that will gather data on these phenomena and provide valuable information on the climate conditions attributed to ice crystal icing. The long-term objective is to improve scientific understanding of ice formation and growth processes in these conditions, and in turn, develop policy and regulations that promote operating an aircraft in a way that minimizes ice formation. The aviation sector—including engine and air-data probe manufacturers—stands to gain immense benefits from this knowledge-gathering exercise due to the improved diagnosis of engine icing/power loss and damage events, and the incorporation of design changes that will lead to safer engines.

How does icing affect safety?

Airborne icing can occur in various forms of precipitation and at different altitudes during flight. It can affect aircraft travelling through broad areas of cloud associated with deep convection, where they occasionally experience ice crystal icing. This is a phenomenon that has been implicated in several jet-engine power losses and instrumentation malfunctions. Currently, aircraft technologies (i.e., radar, icing detection equipment) cannot effectively detect these conditions.

Ground icing occurs due to cold temperature precipitation on various sections of the aircraft, including its wings and engines, and poses a great risk to the airworthiness of the aircraft and the safety of passengers, as it can significantly impact aircraft performance. Currently aircraft operators and airport authorities generally mitigate ice accumulation with de/anti-icing fluids.

6.7 Security

Passenger screening

Following a review of CATSA —the agency responsible for screening people and baggage at designated Canadian airports—by the federal government in 2010, several changes were made the following year to improve passenger convenience and screening efficiency. To help passengers better plan for their trips, CATSA 's website now displays the current screening point ‘wait times' at eight of Canada's largest airports (Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax). CATSA has also redesigned many of its screening checkpoints to improve the flow of passengers through the screening lanes. In addition, CATSA has created dedicated screening lanes for families, those with special needs, and frequent, known travellers.

In 2011, CATSA also improved its service delivery model—which involves third-party screening contractors—by creating a new, four-region contracting model. This reduced the number of regions by two and the number of contracts from seventeen to four35. See Chapter 5.1 for more details.

Air Travellers Security Charge

The Air Travellers Security Charge ( ATS C ) came into effect in April 2002 to fund the air travel security system, including CATSA , Transport Canada's regulations and oversight activities, and the provision of Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers on selected domestic and international flights. The ATS C is payable by air travellers, who principally and directly benefit from the Canadian air travel security system. All ATS C funds, including any applicable Goods and Services Tax ( GST ) or the federal portion of the Harmonized Sales Tax ( HST ), are intended to fund the air travel security system. The charge is structured to provide revenues that are roughly equivalent to expenses for the air travel security system over time.

The ATS C applies to flights between the 89 Canadian airports36 where CATSA provides air travel security services. The charge does not apply to flights that arrive at or depart from other Canadian airports. The ATS C also applies to transborder flights to the U.S. and other international locations that depart from Canadian airports. Upon ticket payment, the air carrier collects the fee, which is paid by those purchasing a passenger ticket. Current ATS C rates37 are $7.48 for domestic (one-way), $14.96 for domestic (round-trip), $12.71 for trans-border, and $25.91 for other international flights (See Addendum Table A30 for more details).

Air cargo security

In February 2011, the federal government announced a shared vision with the United States on perimeter security and economic development, which included working towards the development of a harmonized air cargo security strategy. This vision was a central component of the Action Plan on Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness announced December 7, 2011. The Action Plan will increase the speed of legitimate trade and travel, improve security in North America, and align Canada–U.S. regulatory approaches. A harmonized cargo security strategy will be developed as part of this Action Plan, including common standards for screening inbound air and marine cargo (at the last point of departure for air and first point of arrival for marine). Under the principle ‘cleared once, accepted twice', this cargo would then be given accelerated passage if it crosses the land border. Canada and the U.S. will work to mutually recognize each other's air cargo security programs, helping to better utilize screening efforts and resources and reduce the compliance burdens on industry. The Action Plan also promotes the harmonization of advance data requirements for clearing cargo shipments at the border, which will simplify the industry's reporting burden on both sides of the border. The development of a harmonized cargo security strategy will assist trade by promoting compatible screening methods for goods and cargo before they leave foreign ports bound for Canada or the U.S.

In addition to the work undertaken with the United States, Transport Canada worked at length with partner countries and international organizations, such as the ICAO and the World Customs Organization, to support the development of common standards, definitions and procedures to improve cargo security globally.

Transport Canada also introduced changes to air cargo security that outline new requirements for those handling air cargo in Canada. At the same time, a program was established to improve oversight within the air cargo security system, providing for ongoing inspections and compliance activities with air carriers and members of the air cargo security program. Extensive stakeholder consultations were undertaken to promote compliance with program requirements.

Evaluating screening technologies was another area of focus for Transport Canada's air cargo security program over the past year, with work undertaken to test and qualify screening equipment and develop standards for screening technologies and processes. Pilot projects were conducted with airport authorities, air carriers and freight-forwarding companies to pursue shared threat detection research, testing and evaluation efforts.

International harmonization

The Canada–U.S. Action Plan is a good example of bilateral harmonization, as is participation at the ICAO , where Canada works closely with international partners to share information and develop better and more harmonized security practices that make the movement of people and goods on a global scale possible. The following three areas are examples of Canada's harmonized aviation security practices and efforts.

Facilitation of duty-free goods

Through a bilateral agreement with the European Union, passengers whose flights originate in Canada and Europe can now pass through Canadian and European screening check-points while possessing duty-free liquids, aerosols and gels purchased within their originating airport—provided the items are packaged in specially designed security bags (security tamper evident bags). Based on a risk assessment, CATSA screens these bags in Canada using specialized equipment. Although these secure bags are a short-term solution for duty-free liquids, aerosols and gels, Canada is collaborating with international partners to develop a longer-term solution to reduce or eliminate current restrictions on these types of goods.

Known traveller and NEXUS

Transport Canada continues to evaluate approaches to screening that would more closely match the level of risk posed by a passenger and his or her baggage. Transport Canada is also working with CATSA to improve the flow of passengers through screening lanes while still maintaining a high standard of security. As part of this ongoing process, Transport Canada supported a joint project between CATSA and the Canada Border Services Agency in 2010 that tested a NEXUS priority lane38 concept at domestic lanes in three major airports. To assess the program's success, the performance of the NEXUS priority lane is being measured; the results will be used to improve the program.

In early 2011, the NEXUS program was expanded to Canada's eight largest airports, where NEXUS members can now use dedicated lanes applying Canada's high security standard in a quicker process.

The 2011 Action Plan on Perimeter Strategy and Economic Competitiveness expanded the priority lane program to include designated NEXUS lines at U.S. trans-border security screening checkpoints. Just as at domestic checkpoints, adding a designated screening lane will result in improved screening efficiency and improved client satisfaction.

Harmonized prohibited items list

Taking into consideration investments made into new and improved passenger screening equipment and other security improvements, Transport Canada made changes to the list of items that passengers cannot bring with them onto aircraft. Small scissors and tools not longer than six centimetres (excluding the handle) are now permitted in carry-on baggage. Knives of any size or length remain prohibited. These changes better align Canada's list with those of the ICAO and international partners, including the United States and European Union.

Regulatory review

Through the Aviation Security Regulatory Review currently in progress, Transport Canada is reassessing its aviation security regulatory framework under the Aeronautics Act. The goals of the Review are to renew aviation regulations to respond to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century, and to make them less burdensome for industry and easier for industry to understand regulatory requirements. Introducing requirements for Canada's aviation industry to put Aviation Security Programs into action is one element of this Review. These programs will further align Canada's regulations with international standards and practices set by the ICAO , and will help stakeholders improve their ability to respond to new and unforeseen threats and risks by:

  • improving awareness and understanding of aviation security-related roles and responsibilities;
  • encouraging and coordinating the sharing of aviation security information both inside and outside key stakeholder organizations, when and where appropriate; and
  • engaging the entire stakeholder organization so as to be more involved and proactive in the management, coordination, integration and continuous improvement of security through management of risk, training, increased awareness and improved preparedness.

The first step of the regulatory modernization process was pre-publishing the Canadian Aviation Security Regulations, 2012 in the Canada Gazette, Part I in February 2011; the Regulations then came into effect January 1, 2012. The Canadian Aviation Security Regulations, 2012 completely replaced previous regulations with a more user-friendly structure and provisions that use clear, well-defined and modern language. The Regulations also include requirements for airports' Aviation Security Programs and their key tenants who have security responsibilities.



  1. Figure accurate as of February 2, 2012.
  2. The NAS includes airports in all national, provincial and territorial capitals, as well as airports with annual traffic of 200,000 passengers or more.
  3. Except for Kelowna, Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit
  4. An operator can hold multiple certificates.
  5. The ratio of occupied seats to available seats.
  6. Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, Amortization and Rent. It is the airline equivalent of Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization ( EBITDA ), but rent is added to adjust for the fact that some airlines rely more on leasing aircraft than owning them, which would create distortions with EBITDA .
  7. Revenue per passenger-kilometre.
  8. Particulate matter, sulphur oxyde, nitrogen oxyde, volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxyde respectively.
  9. These are types of fuel used in aviation. Jet A is found mainly in the United States and has lower freezing and flash points than Jet A-1.
  10. That is, jets built in North America, South America, Europe and Japan.
  11. Issued under the Canadian Aviation Regulations Section 604.
  12. A separate company from Skyservice Business Aviation, parent of Sky Regional Airlines.
  13. Environment Canada. 2011, Canada's Emissions Trends.
  14. See
  15. See
  16. Made up of the 26 NAS airports and two non- NAS l.
  17. American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Japan Airlines and Air France-KLM.
  18. A mix of Airbus A-310, A-330-200 and A-330-300.
  19. As of March 2012.
  20. The 12 previously listed, the 27 EU countries and the United States.
  21. See Table A9 in the Addendum.
  22. Please see Table A1 in the Addendum for a breakdown by aerodrome type.
  23. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 2007.
  24. Resolution A37-19: Consolidated statement of continuing ICAO policies and practices related to environmental protection – Climate change. [PDF Version, 75kb]. 16 Made up of the 26 NAS airports and two non- NAS l
  25. A measurement of passenger-carrying capacity calculated by obtaining the product of the number of seats available and the distance over which they are available.
  26. NAV CANADA. 2011. NAV CANADA and the Environment.\AboutUs\Environment\Default.xml
  27. Canada has adopted these ICAO standards for aircraft and engine emissions and references them in its Airworthiness Manual Chapter 516, made pursuant to the Canadian Aviation Regulations and under the Aeronautics Act.
  28. See
  29. See
  30. See
  31. See
  32. See
  33. See
  34. See
  35. Contract were awarded to G4S Solutions Canada (Pacific Region), Garda Security Screening (Prairies and Central Regions) and Securitas Transport Aviation Security (Atlantic Region)
  36. For a list of airports, please see
  37. ATS C rates are set by the Minister of Finance.
  38. A NEXUS priority lane allows members of the NEXUS program (which expedites pre-approved travellers across the Canada-U.S. border) to pass through an accelerated screening process, reflecting the fact these individuals have already been vetted as part of the program.