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Airspace

NAV CANADA is the air navigation service provider for all of Canada. NAV CANADA designs and publishes flight paths and procedures according to standards set by Transport Canada and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to ensure safe and efficient movement of aircraft. 

Airspace around YVR

The airspace over the Lower Mainland is very confined and complex due the mountains to the north, US airspace to the south, numerous airports in the region, and a diverse mix of aircraft operating in the airspace. As a result, all areas of Metro Vancouver experience some level of aircraft over-flights. For further information on YVR aircraft routing and flight paths, please visit our FAQ page.

Vancouver Airspace Modernization Project

NAV CANADA, the country’s air navigation service provider, is proposing to modernize the airspace surrounding Vancouver International Airport (YVR).

Proposed changes are related to approach procedures at YVR and would result in new arrival routes into the airport. The routes used by departing aircraft as well as those used by aircraft operating under Visual Flight Rules would not change as part of this project. The project will also not change current runway use or Noise Abatement Procedures for YVR.

NAV CANADA conducted public consultation in December 2022 and January 2023 to ensure communities could learn about and provide input on the project and proposed changes for their specific area. Public consultation is now complete. Outcomes will be posted online once available. In the meantime, NAV CANADA has not implemented any changes to flight paths at YVR. Learn more about the project, proposed changes, and public consultation: www.navcanada.ca/VAMP. Learn about how runways and flight paths at YVR are currently used:

 

Background

The airspace around the Vancouver Lower Mainland and Southern Vancouver Island regions represents one of the busiest and most complex environments in Canada. It supports the significant community demand for passenger, cargo, flight training, and recreational operations with a wide range of aircraft types. In addition, the region is home to many airports, including YVR, the second busiest airport in Canada, as well as mountainous terrain and coastal weather patterns.

The airspace modernization project will help ensure the airspace can safely and efficiently support long-term demand for air travel and the essential role that aviation plays to support communities and the Canadian economy. The main objective is to enhance safety and to modernize the airspace by introducing new procedures based on current design standards and modern satellite-based navigation technologies, while reducing the industry’s environmental impacts.

Aviation plays a key role in our very own economy right here in British Columbia. YVR helps facilitate $20.2 billion in total economic output, $10.4 billion in total Gross Domestic Product and $1.4 billion in total government revenue in B.C. In addition, YVR supports more than 26,500 jobs on Sea Island and over 126,000 jobs across the province.

The new proposed arrival routes are designed to meet strict Transport Canada design criteria to ensure a high level of safety. While it is not possible to create new routes that completely avoid over-flying residential areas given the specifications of the design criteria, local geography of the region, and complexity of the airspace, careful consideration was given to place the new routes over industrial and commercial areas, bodies of water, and less populated areas where technically feasible.

For those with questions about noise management at YVR please check out the FAQ section on our Noise Management page. This page continues to be updated with any relevant information that might affect our communities.

To learn more about the project, proposed changes, and public consultation, please visit navcanada.ca/VAMP.

Airspace Change Communications and Consultation Protocol (ACCCP)

Should there be changes to the flight paths and procedures, the aviation industry is committed to communicating and consulting with the community about planned changes. The ACCCP, adopted in 2015, was developed jointly by Canadian airports and NAV CANADA to address community communication and consultation requirements related to changes to the airspace. It outlines how and when the aviation industry communicates and consults during airspace changes and defines roles and responsibilities of the parties involved. 

ACCCP 1 MB

Community Design Principles 

Following the adoption of the ACCCP, the YVR Aeronautical Noise Management Committee (ANMC) identified “community design principles”, intended to help airspace designers incorporate community considerations whenever flexibility exists to minimize disturbance on communities without compromising safety. 

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