For the second year in a row, Statistics Canada has named Boundary Bay as the busiest airport in the country, beating out Toronto Pearson International Airport, the Abbotsford Airport and Vancouver International Airport, respectively.
At 211,335 movements in 2021 – defined by NAV CANADA as a take-off, landing or simulated approach by an aircraft – Boundary Bay airport outranked Toronto Pearson International by 37,197 movements, Abbotsford by 42,318 and Vancouver International by 44,400.
Local movements made up 63.5 per cent of movements at Boundary Bay in 2021.
The Statistics Canada press release shows that Boundary Bay airport’s 2021 movements increased 14 per cent from 2020’s, but both years have remained below pre-pandemic levels.
Overall, total aircraft movements in the country increased 11.8 percent in 2021 from 2020, but were down 26.8 per cent from 2019’s tracked movements.
The beginning of 2021 started with evolving advisories and restrictions, including the suspension of all passenger flights from the Caribbean and Mexico by Canadian airlines through the winter travel season, reads the release.
Then, in the second half of 2021, there was some “optimism” as vaccination rates climbed and Canadian border measures slowly eased.
“In fact, transborder movements in the last six months of the year nearly tripled from the first half, and other international traffic more than doubled. However, the year ended in more uncertainty as a new variant, Omicron, was identified in late November,” reads the release.
“While passenger transport was noticeably curtailed by pandemic restrictions, other types of air traffic continued. For example, the summer of 2021 was a significant fire season in British Columbia and Ontario, with increased traffic reported at several airports engaged in combatting wildfire activity.”
Statistics Canada’s note to readers
The Aircraft Movement Statistics: Major Airports Survey collects data on itinerant and local aircraft movements at major airports in Canada.
Major airports include all airports with either a NAV CANADA air traffic control tower or a NAV CANADA flight service station.
An aircraft movement is defined as a take-off, landing or simulated approach by an aircraft, as defined by NAV CANADA.
Data for 2020 and 2021 have been revised.
The data in this monthly release are not seasonally adjusted.