Air Passenger Origin and Destination, Canada-U.S.A.

Detailed information for 2009





Record number:


The Air Passenger Origin and Destination - Canada/United States survey provides estimates of the number of passengers traveling on scheduled commercial flights between Canada and the United States by directional origin and destination.

Data release - July 28, 2010


The Air Passenger Origin and Destination - Canada/United States survey provides estimates of the number of passengers traveling on scheduled commercial flights between Canada and the United States by directional origin and destination. The data are used by Transport Canada and the Canadian Transportation Agency for evaluating competition in the industry, developing policies for the exchange of air services with foreign countries, for airport planning and market research. The information is also used by individual carriers for evaluating market trends, measuring their own growth and planning new services, as well as by Statistics Canada as input to the Provincial accounts.

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. In addition to surveying carriers and owners of registered motor vehicles, certain programs rely on aggregation of provincial and territorial administrative records.


  • Transportation
  • Transportation by air

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The universe covers all Canadian air carriers assigned to reporting Level I and Level II that, in each of the two years immediately preceding the reporting year, enplaned 300,000 or more scheduled revenue passengers using fixed wing aircraft. In order to obtain a complete picture of Canada-United States travel, it is necessary to include also data from the United States Air Passenger Origin and Destination Survey. These data are collected from all certificated United States air carriers. Canada and the United States exchange data quarterly via a formal statistical exchange agreement.

Instrument design

The collection instrument 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. The collection instrument collects data electronically on revenue passenger trips made in whole or in part on domestic and/or international scheduled flights. Data on airports, operating carrier, advertised carrier and fare basis code are also collected.


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

In most cases, the survey data are drawn from a 10% continuous systematic sample of flight coupons pertaining to scheduled air transportation provided by the participating Canadian air carriers. The air carriers are instructed to report data only from those flight coupons where they are the first participating carrier in the flight itinerary shown on the coupon. The air carriers are responsible for the selection and the capture of the coupons.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Transborder (Canada/United States) origin and destination data include all itineraries in the passenger origin and destination surveys of the two countries which have both a United States point and a Canadian point in the routing. Carriers must report information if (i) they operated one or more segments of the itineraries and (ii) no other carrier participating in the survey operated any preceding segments. Reporting is based on information obtained from lifted flight coupons (or their electronic equivalent). The complete ticket itinerary is recorded as one entry for each trip, showing the routing from the initial origin to the final ticket destination and including, in sequence, each point of intraline or interline transfer, the carrier (both operating and advertised for code shared segments) and the fare basis code on each flight coupon stage as well as the total value of the ticket in Canadian dollars. The Canadian survey collects data electronically from Canadian carriers. The United States survey data from American carriers are sent electronically from the US Department of Transportation on a quarterly basis.

Data for this survey are collected quarterly; however they are disseminated annually.

For this survey, all data comes from collection only.

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

Error detection

Errors may occur at almost every phase of a survey's operations: instructions for lifting of flight coupons by the participating carriers may be misunderstood; data observed on flight coupons may be illegible; and errors may be introduced in the processing of the data. In all these cases, systems are in place to detect these errors and appropriate actions, including follow-up with the respondents, are undertaken.


This methodology does not apply.


When a 10% continuous systematic sample is drawn from flight coupons, the data collected for the survey are systematically multiplied by 10 to produce the final estimates.

Quality evaluation

The evaluation of the quality of the Air Passenger Origin and Destination - Canada/United States Report includes the comparison with results of other Aviation surveys conducted in the Aviation Statistics Centre of Statistics Canada. For each carrier, flight segments and number of passengers are compared to similar statistics collected from the Airport Activity Survey (survey I.D. 2701). The evaluation of data quality also includes comparison to data available from other sources, including the Official Airline Guides (OAG).

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

Origin and Destination data are periodically revised when necessary. Where possible, revisions for a given year are provided in the following year's publication and indicated with an "r".

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 error is not related to sampling and 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 was 75%.

Sampling error occurs because population estimates are derived from a sample of the population rather than the entire population. Sampling error depends on factors such as sample size, sampling design, and the method of estimation. An important property of probability sampling is that sampling error can be computed from the sample itself by using a statistical measure called the coefficient of variation (CV). The assumption is that over repeated surveys, the relative difference between a sample estimate and the estimate that would have been obtained from an enumeration of all units in the universe would be less than twice the CV, 95 times out of 100. The range of acceptable data values yielded by a sample is called a confidence interval. Confidence intervals can be constructed around the estimate using the CV. First, we calculate the standard error by multiplying the sample estimate by the CV. The sample estimate plus or minus twice the standard error is then referred to as a 95% confidence interval.

It is estimated that the sampling error will be at 12.6% for estimates of 1,000 total inbound and outbound passengers; at 4.1% for estimates of 10,000 total inbound and outbound passengers and at 1.4% for estimates of 100,000 inbound and outbound passengers.

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