YVR answers your most frequently asked questions:
- I have noticed increased air traffic over my area. Has the flight path changed?
- How has the pandemic impacted air traffic at YVR? Will the traffic increase back to the pre-pandemic level?
- Is YVR closed at night?
- Can the north runway be used at night?
- Why do float planes operate over the City of Richmond at low altitudes?
- Why is there maintenance noise at YVR? Can you restrict them during the night-time hours?
- Is there a restriction to the aircraft noise level?
- Other topics
Q1: I have noticed increased air traffic over my area. Has the flight path changed?
A: When aircraft depart and arrive at YVR, they follow published procedures and routings that are designed to meet national and international standards to ensure safe movement of aircraft in the busy confined airspace. While there have been no changes to these procedures and flight paths, you may notice different flight patterns and aircraft distribution over your area depending on which runway is active at the airport, which is determined by wind conditions on the airfield. Please view the factsheet and video for further information.
Residents can also view "real-time" and historical flight track information over their area on the YVR WebTrak System.
Q2: How has the pandemic impacted air traffic at YVR? Will the traffic increase back to the pre-pandemic level?
A: Commercial aviation faced significant reductions in passenger and flight volumes from the impacts of COVID-19. Airports continue to adapt to changing travel requirements and measures.
Aircraft operations at YVR plays an integral role in supporting the economic recovery of our region as residents and businesses rely on air services to connect BC to the world. As the pandemic restrictions are relaxed, aircraft operations at YVR are steadily increasing to serve the travel and business demands of the region. It is anticipated that the air traffic will return to 2019 levels in a few years. We recognize that our operations can have an impact on our neighbouring communities and remain committed to minimizing the impacts as much as possible.
Q3: Is YVR closed at night?
A: YVR is open 24 hours to serve the travel and business demands of the region like all other international airports in Canada. On average, there are 20-30 movements per night between midnight and 6 AM, which accounts for about 3% of the total annual movements at YVR. Night-time operations data can be found on our Annual Noise Reports.
Night operations are conducted in accordance with published Noise Abatement Procedures, designed to minimize disturbance during night-time hours. Under Canadian Aviation Regulations, operators that are in non-compliance with these procedures can be subject to enforcement action and fines issued by Transport Canada Civil Aviation Enforcement. More information about night-time operations can be found here.
Q4: Can the north runway be used at night?
A: The north runway is normally closed between 10 PM and 7 AM. However, in the event of emergencies or during airfield maintenance, the north runway is used for departures and arrivals during those hours. Further information on the north runway operations can be found on the factsheet. The south runway maintenance schedule is also posted here.
Q5: Why do float planes operate over the City of Richmond at low altitudes?
A: Float planes have been operating out of the Middle Arm of the Fraser River for many years. The YVR float planes use a long-established departure and arrival route over the City of Richmond, which generally follows the Westminster Highway corridor, and operate at around 500 feet over the area to ensure safe separation and to avoid conflicting with other aircraft operating in the airspace above. More information about their operations can be found on the factsheet.
Q6: Why is there maintenance noise at YVR? Can you restrict them during the night-time hours?
A: Testing engines after maintenance, referred to as a maintenance run-up, is a requirement by Transport Canada and manufacturers to ensure aircraft are airworthy. Maintenance is often performed in the evening and at night when aircraft return to their base from flying during the day. Therefore, some run-ups need to be conducted at night to ensure aircraft are ready for their morning flights.
While run-ups are permitted at any hour of the day, operators must receive prior approval, and we have directives and procedures in place to restrict locations where run-ups can be performed and power settings in an effort to minimize disturbance on the communities. We also constructed Canada’s first Ground Run-up Enclosure, a run-up facility designed to absorb and re-direct noise, in 2012 to further minimize noise exposures from run-ups on the airport south. For additional information, please view the factsheet. For YVR run-up statistics, please view our Annual Noise Report.
Q7: Is there a restriction to the aircraft noise level?
A: The government of Canada requires aircraft to meet noise certification standards prescribed by the International Civil Aviation Organization in order to operate in Canada. All aircraft operating at YVR meet these noise standards. These standards continue to increase in stringency, making newer aircraft much quieter compared to older generation jet aircraft. The Government of Canada also phased out older noisier jet aircraft in 2002. For further information, please view the factsheet.