Aircraft Movement Statistics

Detailed information for July 2022





Record number:


The survey collects data on aircraft movements in Canada.

Data release - September 29, 2022


The survey provides estimates of aircraft movements in Canada. The data are used by Transport Canada and NAV CANADA for measuring the workload of air traffic controllers, aircraft activity on air routes and runway utilization. The information is also used for airport planning and improvements.

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.


  • Transportation
  • Transportation by air

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The Aircraft Movements Statistics cover the itinerant and local aircraft movements reported respectively by the air traffic control units at the NAV CANADA control towers, by the NAV CANADA flight service stations and by airport and carrier personnel, members of flying clubs and employees of various levels of government at airports without control towers or flight service stations across Canada.

Instrument design

This methodology does not apply.


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.

Survey universe

The survey covers all aircraft movements at Canadian airports with or without NAV CANADA air traffic control towers and flight service stations.

There are approximately 6,000 aerodromes in Canada, including land (runways and/or heliports) and water facilities. Of these, approximately 1,900 are certified and registered airports by Transport Canada.

Data sources

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

Airports with NAV CANADA Air Control Towers and NAV CANADA Flight Service Stations:

Responding to this survey is mandatory for the Canadian airports with NAV CANADA air traffic control towers and flight service stations.

The procedures for reporting aircraft movements to NAV CANADA are described in the Air Traffic Control Manual of Operations (ATC MANOPS).

Airports without NAV CANADA Air Traffic Control Towers or NAV CANADA Flight Service Stations:

Responding to this survey is voluntary for the Canadian airports without NAV CANADA air traffic control towers or flight service stations.

Daily air traffic records are used to capture information for each aircraft arrival and/or departure and are mailed or sent electronically to the Aviation Statistics Centre of Statistics Canada.

Data for some of Manitoba's airports are submitted by the Department of Infrastructure and Transportation of the Manitoba Government.

Data for some of Quebec's airports are submitted by Kativik Regional Government and the ministère des Transports du Québec.

The daily air traffic records capture three data items for each aircraft arrival and/or departure for itinerant movements, and two items for local movements.

Section A of the record dealing with itinerant movements reports the following information for each movement:

(a) the aircraft registration or air carrier code and flight number;
(b) the aircraft type;
(c) the last station before landing at the reporting airport or the next station after take-off.

Section B of the record provides for the reporting of the number of local civil and local military movements for each day.

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

Error detection

Airports with NAV CANADA Air Control Towers and NAV CANADA Flight Service Stations:

The processing system contains editing procedures designed to identify data errors occurring during transcription or during data capture of forms. Identified errors are manually corrected by ASC editing staff.

Errors may occur if an aircraft type code which exists is reported or data captured in error for a flight. For example, the reporting or keying of B727 for a flight actually performed by a B737 may not be detected during the system editing. The fact that the aircraft type information is recorded by highly trained air traffic control tower staff using a common handbook of official aircraft codes minimizes this problem.

Similarly, the breakdown of the data on a geographic basis by use of location codes can be subject to error. For smaller locations, alphanumeric location codes are often used and the sequence of numbers and letters determines the geographic area to which the data are assigned. In some cases, where a sequence error has been introduced into the system either at the reporting unit or at data capture, a domestic movement may be classified as transborder or vice versa. The use of common manuals of location identifiers works to minimize this occurrence.

Airports without NAV CANADA Air Traffic Control Towers or NAV CANADA Flight Service Stations:

The validity of the source data reported is controlled through the use of computerized edit programs. Identified errors originating with the source documents or with the data transmission are manually corrected by Aviation Statistics editing staff.


This methodology type does not apply to this survey.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

Data received are tabulated, and are subjected to a number of validation analyses, such as working closely with the data supplier to ensure the figures match alternate series and tracking industry articles to ensure series are following trend lines.

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

Monthly estimates are provided for the reference month. The data for the previous months are revised if necessary. The revisions are reflected in the CANSIM tables, both monthly and annual.

Seasonal adjustments are not done.

Data accuracy

The Aviation Statistics Centre maintains a data base of parameter files of current information on all registered aircraft. The storage of this information reduces the reporting burden of the survey respondents and limits the element of human error associated with the preparation of source documents.

Other parameter files information includes registered aircraft identifications and their corresponding aircraft types, maximum take-off weights, types of power plant (piston, jet or turboprop); whether the aircraft are fixed wing, helicopters or gliders. This information also provides a basis for identifying type of flights (commercial, private and government) and the geographical area in which the flights take place.

The parameter files also include airport environment information against which the airport category is checked; the reported runway is validated and the time difference between UTC and Local is assigned.

Airports with NAV CANADA Air Control Towers and NAV CANADA Flight Service Stations:

Aircraft movement statistics are accumulated from data originating with air traffic control tower units or flight service station personnel. Because staff in these positions are highly trained in factual observation and reporting, the entries in the data bank are of a high quality.

Airports without NAV CANADA Air Traffic Control Towers or NAV CANADA Flight Service Stations:

The daily air traffic records are completed on a daily basis and mailed or sent electronically to the Aviation Statistics Centre where they are registered and edited for clarity and reliability. Survey respondents are contacted by telephone to follow up for non-response.

At airports without towers or flight service stations, survey respondents, in performing their various assignments, are not always aware of all aircraft movements at their airport. For example, at small airports the airport manager may be responsible for both the administration and maintenance of the station facilities. At some airports the Daily air traffic records are filed by flying club managers who may not be completely familiar with other activities at other areas of the airport.

At airports with flying school operations it is sometimes difficult to record each individual local aircraft movement. In such cases, the Aviation Statistics Centre would advise the airport manager to report local movements based on hours expended in flying training operations. Observations have shown that, on average, six circuits can be made during each hour of flying training. Therefore, 12 local aircraft movements would be counted for each hour of flying training. At stations where the circuits demand a different norm, the respondent will make corrections accordingly.


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