Fare Basis Survey

Detailed information for first quarter 2016





Record number:


The Fare Basis Survey represents a regular and comprehensive source of fare type-specific data on passengers, revenues, and average air fares.

Data release - December 16, 2016


The Fare Basis Survey represents a regular and comprehensive source of fare type-specific data on passengers, revenues, and average air fares. The Fare Basis Survey estimates the average air fare paid and the proportion of passengers for each fare type (first class, business class, economy class, discount and other) for Canadian scheduled air carriers. The data are available by domestic and international sector, by province, and for selected cities.

The results are used by Transport Canada and the Canadian Transportation Agency for planning functions and evaluating the impact of regulatory reform and establishing policies for the exchange of air services with foreign countries. The information is also used by the System of National Accounts Branch of Statistics Canada to provide estimates of quarterly and annual business versus personal travel by province/territory and to provide interprovincial revenue estimates, by the Prices Division of Statistics Canada and by the Aviation Statistics Centre of Statistics Canada to provide a statistical service for other federal and provincial government departments, carriers, industry, consultants and the public.

Statistical activity

This statistical activity is part of a set of surveys measuring various aspects of activities related to movement of people and goods. These surveys are grouped as follows:

Transportation by air includes records related to the movement of aircraft, passengers and cargo by air for both Canadian and foreign air carriers operating in Canada as well as the financial and operating characteristics of Canadian air carriers. These data are produced by the Aviation Statistics Centre.

Transportation by rail includes records relating to rail transportation in Canada and between the United States and Canada.

Transportation by road includes records relating to all road transport in Canada. In addition to surveying carriers and owners of registered motor vehicles, certain programs rely on aggregation of provincial and territorial administrative records.

Water Transport includes records relating to water transportation, domestic shipping, international seaborne shipping, and ports of loading and unloading.

Reference period: Quarter

Collection period: 45 days after the end of the quarter


  • Transportation
  • Transportation by air

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The Fare Basis Survey covers the scheduled operations of the Canadian air carriers classified to Level I.

Instrument design

The Fare Basis Report (Statement 8) has remained stable over the years, although the format and wording has been modified to maintain its relevance based on feedback from survey respondents and data users.


This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design.

This survey covers the scheduled operations of major Canadian air carriers. The survey is designed to be conducted in accordance with a stratified random sample of 56 days per calendar year. Each day of the week is sampled twice per quarter. Population estimates are produced by applying the respective sampling weight of each stratum to the passenger volume and revenue values for each record in each stratum. The sampling weight is based on the number of occurrences of each day of the week in a particular quarter divided by the number of sample days selected for each stratum; thus the sampling weight will be 6, 6.5 or 7.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

The data are drawn from all "lifted" flight coupons in a carrier's system applicable to scheduled services. A stratified random sample of 56 days per calendar year of flight coupons lifted by the participating Canadian air carriers is employed. The air carriers are instructed to report passenger volume and revenue aggregated by fare basis code (denotes the applicable service, discount and restrictions on travel) and coupon origin and destination-O & D (identifies the two locations between which the coupon was used for passage) for each sample day. Data are reported for domestic and international coupon O & D city-pairs. The revenue reported is the allocated portion of the revenue from the ticket associated with a particular coupon. Where the coupon comes from a one coupon ticket, all the ticket revenue is allocated to that coupon; where the coupon comes from a multi-coupon ticket, the ticket revenue is prorated. The method used for proration is the "Straight Rate Proration Principle".

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

The data are reported by the air carriers in a computer readable electronic format as specified in the instructions for the Fare Basis Survey.

The collection of fare basis data within the framework of a survey dedicated specifically to fares tends to minimize data deficiencies resulting from non-sampling error. In addition, because the flight coupon is a basic source for the carriers' own revenue accounting systems, data capture of coupon data by the carriers is a centralized computer-assisted operation and subject to internal verification resulting in relatively accurate and timely reporting. Reported data are computer-edited by the Aviation Statistics Centre to ensure proper sample selection, valid entries and logical inter-field dependencies.


This methodology type does not apply to this survey.


The sampling weight is based on the number of occurrences of each day of the week in a particular quarter divided by the number of sample days selected for each stratum; thus the sampling weight will be either 6, 6.5 or 7.

Quality evaluation

The evaluation of the quality of the Fare Basis Survey data includes the comparison with results of other Aviation surveys conducted in the Aviation Statistics Centre. For each carrier, number of passengers and passenger revenues are compared respectively to data collected from the Airport Activity Survey (record number 2701) and the Canadian Civil Aviation - Annual Report (record number 2713) to make sure that the data are reliable and consistent. The evaluation of data quality also includes comparison to data available from external sources, including the published air fares as released by the Airline Tariff Publishing Company (ATPCO).

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Data for a specific industry or variable may be suppressed (along with that of a second industry or variable) if the number of enterprises in the population is too low.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Quarterly estimates are provided for the most current quarter available. The data for the previous quarter are revised if necessary. Seasonal adjustments are not made to the data.

Data accuracy

While considerable effort is made to ensure high standards throughout all stages of collection and processing, the resulting estimates are inevitably subject to a certain degree of error. These errors can be broken down into two major types: non-sampling and sampling.

Non-sampling errors may occur for many reasons. For example, non-response is an important source of non-sampling error. Population coverage, differences in the interpretation of questions, incorrect information from respondents, and mistakes in recording, coding and processing data are other examples of non-sampling errors.

Non-sampling errors are controlled through a careful design of the questionnaire, the use of a minimal number of simple concepts and consistency checks. Coverage error was minimized by using multiple sources to update the frame. Measures such as response rates are used as indicators of the possible extent of non-sampling errors. The response rate for the 2012 reference year was 80%. Imputation for non-response was done by using other 2012 survey data and published air fares.

Sampling error for estimates of totals (passenger volume, revenue, etc.) is derived from the standard formula used in a stratified replicated sample design while the Balanced Repeated Replication technique is used for estimates of ratios and proportions. A measure of the estimate's reliability is provided by its associated coefficient of variation (c.v.), defined as the ratio of the estimate's standard error to the estimate itself, expressed as a percentage. Estimates with a coefficient of less than 10 can be generally considered to be reliable from a sampling point of view. Estimates for markets below 1,000 passengers are not regarded as being reliable; however, above 10,000 passengers, estimates fall within the normally acceptable range. The reliability of passenger volume estimates is also established by means of confidence intervals.

CVs were calculated for each estimate and are available upon request. Generally, average fares by sector and by fare type group obtained very good CVs (10% or less). CVs are higher but still acceptable (under 25%) for fare types not frequently used and for average fares related to smaller markets.

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