Airport Activity Survey

Detailed information for 2021





Record number:


The purpose of this business survey is to provide estimates of passengers enplaned and deplaned and cargo loaded and unloaded at Canadian airports.

Data release - December 8, 2022


The survey collects data from air carriers operating in Canada. Air carriers are required to file their data via one of three statements, through the Electronic Collection of Air Transportation Statistics (ECATS), according to their type of operation.

Large scheduled carriers file their data via statement 6. The data are reported in traffic flow format. Data collected includes notably the last stop/next stop, flight number, number of revenue passengers and cargo weight.

Small scheduled carriers file their data via statement 4. Data reported include the origin and destination of passengers transported by the reporting carrier.

Air carriers offering charter services file their charter data via statement 2. Data reported include origin and destination data for passenger and cargo operations.

Transport Canada uses the data for measuring activity at major airports, for evaluating their capacity and for developing an overall planning strategy for Canada's airports. The information is also used by the Canadian Transportation Agency for evaluating the adequacy of air services and by Statistics Canada for providing estimates of provincial passenger and cargo flows.

Statistical activity

This statistical activity is part of a set of surveys measuring various aspects of activities related to the 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. Certain programs rely on aggregation of provincial and territorial administrative records.

Collection period: Data for ECATS Statement 2 and Statement 6 are collected monthly basis and due 30 days after the reference month.
Data for ECATS Statement 4 are collected quarterly and are due 60 days after the reference quarter.


  • Transportation
  • Transportation by air
  • Travel and tourism

Data sources and methodology

Target population

Statement 6 (also formerly referred to as Daily Airport Activities Report): A level I air carrier that operates scheduled services, and a level II air carrier, level III air carrier, level IV air carrier or foreign air carrier that operates a scheduled service with at least one aircraft whose maximum certificated take-off weight is more than 25 000 kg, must provide to the Minister operational information about each take-off or landing in Canada or abroad of a scheduled service flight that originates in, is destined for, or makes a stopover at an aerodrome in Canada.

Statement 4 (also formerly referred to as Coupon Passenger Origin and Destination Report): A level I air carrier or level II air carrier that transported more than 600,000 revenue passengers by scheduled service in each of the two previous calendar years must provide to the Minister information about each revenue passenger's complete itinerary.

Statement 2 (also formerly referred to as Charter On-Flight Origin and Destination Report): A level I air carrier, level II air carrier, level III air carrier, level IV air carrier or foreign air carrier that operates a charter service, whether or not available to the public, on an aircraft whose maximum certificated takeoff weight is 5 670 kg or more, must provide to the Minister operational information about each charter flight that it operates with the aircraft and that originates in, is destined for, or makes a stopover at an aerodrome in Canada.

Instrument design

The Statements have 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 survey is a census with a cross-sectional design.

Data are collected for all units of the target population, therefore, no sampling is done.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2021-01-01 to 2022-03-01

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents and extracted from administrative files.

Beginning with 2007 data and coinciding with the national roll-out of the Transport ECATS project, data are reported electronically to Transport Canada and shared with Statistics Canada under Section 12 of the Statistics Act.

Error detection

Upon receipt of the data, the Aviation Statistics Centre (ASC) of Statistics Canada applies its own edit programs at the micro-data level. These programs conduct quality checks to determine the quality and legitimacy of the information contained within flight records. Aviation Statistics Centre personnel then correct invalid entries, impute for missing data, tabulate and prepare the data for publication.


Imputation is performed at the level of the individual air carrier on the basis of observed performance under similar operating conditions.


All units in the observed population are being surveyed. Estimation of totals is done by simple aggregation of the values of all estimation units that are found in the domain of estimation. Estimates are computed for several domains of estimation such as industrial groups and provinces/territories, based on the most recent classification information available for the estimation unit and the survey reference period. It should be noted that this classification information may differ from the original sampling classification since records may have changed in size, industry or location. Changes in classification are reflected immediately in the estimates.

Quality evaluation

The evaluation of the quality of the Airport Activity Statistics includes the comparison with results of other Aviation surveys conducted in the Aviation Statistics Centre. For each carrier, flight segments, number of passengers, available seats and volume of goods carried are compared to similar statistics collected from the Air Carriers Operations in Canada Quarterly Survey (record number 2712), Canadian Civil Aviation - Annual Report (record number 2713) and the Aircraft Movement Statistics data (record number 2715). The evaluation of data quality also includes comparison to data available from other sources, including the airport authorities.

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.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Estimates are provided for the reference year and the previous reference year is revised if necessary. The data are not seasonally adjusted.

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. Since the survey is a census of the target population, only non-sampling errors are possible.

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.


Date modified: