AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS AT YYC
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The new parallel runway (17L-35R) became operational on June 28, 2014. Land for the new runway was acquired in the 1970s and the Airport Vicinity Protection Area (AVPA) zoning has been in place for over 30 years. This protection area has influenced residential development by keeping the airport and new runway in mind. As an inner-city airport, we are fortunate to have this protection in place. It has allowed the continued growth of YYC as a major economic engine for the city and province we serve, while managing the impact of aircraft operations on surrounding communities.
The Calgary Airport Authority is focused on the continued development of YYC as a major economic generator, while being a good member of the community. What does that mean? We are part of the community, and we work in consultation with community associations, government agencies and airlines to ensure we are a good neighbour. In keeping with that objective, we will continue to actively monitor flight operations to ensure that aircraft are complying with noise abatement procedures. Additionally, we have been visiting surrounding communities over the last several years to discuss the impact of operations of new runway 17L-35R.
If you have questions about aircraft arrival and departure procedures or aircraft activity, we can find the answers.
With the new runway in service, what will this mean for traffic in the air and at the airport?
SOME BACKGROUND ON AIRCRAFT ACTIVITY AT YYC
What determines the use of runways at YYC? Our partner, Nav Canada, manages the airspace and the runway utilization is based on numerous factors:
- Safety is the over-arching consideration in the design and operation of the airspace and airport system at YYC;
Aircraft need to land and depart into the prevailing wind;
Operating conditions (runway length, aircraft type, volume of air traffic, etc.);
Airport construction and maintenance activities; and
Preferential runway use (day/night-time operations).
In general, the operational procedures for arriving and departing aircraft are as follows:
- The north-south runways will remain the preferential use runways for arrivals and departures;
- Nav Canada will generally arrive and depart aircraft from the west (e.g. Vancouver) on the west parallel (17R-35L) and arrive and depart aircraft from the east (e.g. Toronto) on the east parallel (17L-35R); and
- Night-time procedures to minimize aircraft activity over the city remain in effect.
WHY DOES AIRCRAFT NOISE VARY?
- Manufacturing of the aircraft. Different aircraft will have different noise profiles; however, all aircraft that operate in Canada must meet strict noise standards enforced by Transport Canada as part of the aircraft certification process;
- Atmospheric conditions like humidity, wind and cloud ceiling height can affect a perceived difference in noise levels. These factors will vary by season;
- Weight of the aircraft;
- Operation of the aircraft (departures vs. arrivals, thrust settings); and
- Altitude at which the aircraft is operating.
HOW WILL AIRCRAFT ARRIVE AND DEPART YYC?
Now that the new parallel runway is open, operational procedures will be as follows:
- All of the existing runways will continue to be used.
- The new runway is used for both arrivals and departures.
- Aircraft will generally arrive and depart to and from the west (e.g. Vancouver) on the west parallel (17R-35L) and arrive and depart to and from the east (e.g. Toronto) on the east parallel (17L-35R).
- The preferred runway for departures will generally be 35R and L. However when the winds require, aircraft will arrive from the north and depart to the south.
In parallel runway operation:
a. Aircraft departing on the east runway to the south will generally depart to the left, using a 15 degree divergence away from the existing runway 17/35
b. Aircraft departing on the east runway to the north will generally depart right, using a 15 degree divergence away from the existing runway 17/35
- Aircraft activity will continue to operate within the parameters of the AVPA regulation.
- The north-south runway(s) remain the preferential use runways as it has been with Runway 17R-35L.
- Night-time procedures to minimize aircraft activity over the city where possible will remain in effect.
Photo Above: Preferred Runway Operations
Red - Arrivals
Blue - Departures
Photo Above: South Wind Operations
Red - Arrivals
Blue - Departures
Photo Above: Airport Vicinity Protection Area
There is more good news! The highest noise levels will continue to fall within the boundaries of the Airport Vicinity Protection Area, meaning the land zoning put in place in the 1970s has done its job of reducing noise exposure in residential areas.
WE ARE CONSTANTLY MONITORING AND MEASURING AIRCRAFT ACTIVITY
The Aircraft Flight Tracking Environmental Management System integrates aircraft radar with sound measuring capabilities, which allows for a correlation of information from aircraft flights and noise levels via data playbacks and queries. In addition, the system integrates a number of analysis tools including:
- Noise monitoring;
- Aircraft flight track investigations;
- Aircraft flight track and noise event correlation; and
- Statistical analysis.
THE AIRPORT COMMUNITY CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE (ACCC)
The committee is considered the most important and effective part of YYC’s long standing Noise Management Program. The ACCC is a committee comprised of a variety of stakeholders including: local communities, Nav Canada, Transport Canada, the City of Calgary, the City of Airdrie and the airlines. This committee is dedicated to addressing operational issues through a consultative and collaborative process. All concerns and questions raised by community residents through the concern line or through email will be brought to the committee for discussion.