May 23, 2019

Vancouver Airspace To Be Modernized


In a major announcement at a B.C. Aviation Council conference last week in Kelowna, Nav Canada’s National Director of Service Delivery Initiatives John Urban said that Canada’s air navigation service provider will be initiating an Airspace Modernization Project for the Vancouver area.

The scope of the review encompasses VFR and IFR operations in the Greater Vancouver region and Southern Vancouver Island, and will include CYVR (Vancouver), CYPK (Pitt Meadows), CZBB (Boundary Bay), CYNJ (Langley) CYYJ (Victoria), CYXX (Abbotsford), CYHC (Vancouver Harbour), CYWH (Victoria Harbour), CYCD (Nanaimo) and KBLI (Bellingham, Wash.).

With the terms of reference (TOR) already complete, stakeholder consultation is set to begin next month, with the resulting concepts for options to be assembled by fall of this year.

“If we haven’t contacted you about this review, then please call us,” said Urban to the various member airlines and local government entities of the BCAC.  “We want your input.” Nav Canada expects to have conducted a full analysis of the potential options by the end of March, 2020. That will complete Phase 1 of the three-phase project.

Phase 2 of the review, which will immediately follow, will see a community consultation plan developed and executed during the spring and summer of 2020. Implementation planning will begin in late summer of 2020.

Phase 3 is when implementation of the changes is planned to take place, with Aeronautical Information Manual updates and controller training to be completed before the airspace changes are made. No completion date has been specified as that could depend on the changes to be adopted.

The main impetus of the review is the significant expansion that the Vancouver airport authority is envisioning for the future, with commercial air traffic in and out of that airport expected to grow significantly, with the possible construction of an additional runway within the next 20 years. A second driver of the project is the increase in flight training that occurs in the surrounding, aforementioned airports.