Analysis

Aircraft take-offs and landings at Canadian airports with NAV CANADA air traffic control towers and flight service stations were relatively unchanged (-0.3%) in 2014 from a year earlier.

Ninety-two airports reported 5.4 million movements during the year compared with 5.5 million at 93 airports in 2013, the sixth consecutive annual drop in movements and the lowest level since 1985. Despite the decline in aircraft movements in recent years, passenger movements have increased as carriers have employed aircraft with more seats and achieved higher load factors.

Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International, Ontario (436,640 movements) and Vancouver International, British Columbia (311,747) continued to be the most active airports in 2014.

A slight drop in itinerant movements (flights from one airport to another) was offset by a small increase in local movements (flights that remain in the vicinity of the airport). Itinerant movements fell 0.9% to 3.9 million while local movements rose 1.2% to 1.5 million.

Edmonton City Centre Airport, Alberta, which closed on November 30th, 2013, accounted for 42,469 movements in 2013. Prince Rupert in British Columbia, while still open, lost its status as a flight service station effective July 24, 2014. Up to this date, the airport had reported 1,798 movements in 2014.

In 2014, itinerant movements dropped by 35,332 from the year-earlier level. Most airports reported declines, the largest of which was recorded at Toronto/Buttonville, Ontario (-16,329 movements) as the airport may close in late 2016. Among the airports with higher levels of activity, Edmonton International, Alberta (+12,578) and Fredericton International, New Brunswick (+10,441) both experienced increases of more than 10,000 movements. Activity at Edmonton/Villeneuve, Alberta rose by 6,866 movements, an increase of more than 50%. The growth at both Edmonton International and Edmonton/Villeneuve may be partly explained by the migration of flights resulting from the closure of Edmonton City Centre Airport.

The 1.5 million local movements recorded in 2014, which represented an increase of 18,239 movements compared with 2013, was the first annual increase since 2007. Boundary Bay, British Columbia (89,936 movements) and Calgary/Springbank, Alberta (87,988) reported the largest number of local movements in 2014.

Itinerant movements: domestic, transborder and international

There were 3.3 million domestic itinerant movements reported at 92 Canadian airports in 2014, a decrease of 1.1% (-37,331 movements) from 2013. In addition to the large reduction (-35,355 movements) resulting from the closure of Edmonton City Centre airport, domestic movements were also negatively impacted by a decline at Toronto/Buttonville (-16,088). The largest increases were observed at Edmonton International (+11,451 movements) and Fredericton International (+10,487). Vancouver International (231,101 movements), Calgary International, Alberta (199,209) and Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International (189,801) reported the greatest number of domestic itinerant movements.

Ninety-two airports reported 498,440 transborder itinerant movements (between Canada and the United States) in 2014, down 1.3% (-6,735 movements) from the previous year. Year over year gains were noted at the majority of airports, including Vancouver International (+3,782 movements), Edmonton International (+858) and Nanaimo, British Columbia (+809), where activity more than doubled (+149%) from the previous year. However, these gains were offset by declines as Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International reported the largest drop (-6,321 movements) and its lowest level of transborder activity (178,950 movements) since 2009.

In 2014, eighty-one airports reported 145,755 other international itinerant movements, up 6.4% (+8,734 movements) from 2013. Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International (66,613 movements) followed by Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau International, Québec (27,577) and Vancouver International (21,303) reported the largest number of other international movements. The movements reported by these three airports represented almost 80% of the total other international itinerant movements.

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