In 2013, runways at Calgary International Airport (YYC) and Springbank Airport (YBW) will be getting new numbers. So, how and why do runways get these designations? And why do they need to change now?
Runways are numbered according to the magnetic heading. For instance, Runway 34 at YYC is numbered 34 because it lines up with 340 degrees magnetic and because the magnetic north pole is slowly moving (this movement is part of the earth's natural process), every 60 or 70 years runways have to be given new designations. The renumbering, which is a regulatory requirement, will be a massive undertaking for The Calgary Airport Authority, which manages both YYC and YBW airports. In total 95 signs at YYC will need to be changed, in addition to 23 signs at YBW.
The new designation for Runway 16/34 will become 17/35, Runway 10/28 will become 11/29, and Runway 07/25 will be 08/26.
According to the Natural Resources Canada website, based on Calgary’s location the movement of the magnetic north pole results in a shift of 1/60 of a degree each year.
As part of the process, the Authority has been meeting regularly with stakeholder groups to ensure that airport partners are well informed of the changes. In addition, national airport and pilot publications will be updated as part of the process, and voice advisories will be used to inform pilots departing or arriving to YYC.