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NAV CANADA confirms continuation of ATC services, suspends northern aeronautical studies


April 15, 2021
Wings Staff

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The control tower at Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International. (Photo: NAV CANADA)

NAV CANADA confirmed today that it will maintain air traffic control service to seven Canadian communities, including Fort McMurray, AB, Prince George, BC, Regina, SK, Saint-Jean, QC, Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Whitehorse, YT and Windsor, ON.

Last fall, NAV CANADA launched 29 aeronautical studies to determine how it could safely streamline operations under the economic impact of the long COVID-19 pandemic, aiming to ensure air navigation services align with market demand.

NAV CANADA is a private, not-for-profit company, established in 1996, providing air traffic control, airport advisory services, weather briefings and aeronautical information services for more than 18 million square kilometres of Canadian domestic and international airspace. Under the Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization Act, NAV CANADA recovers its operating expense through service charges from its customers on a breakeven basis. Its customers include airlines, air cargo operators, air charter operators, air taxis, helicopter operators, and business and general aviation.

NAV CANADA explains, that after considerable consultation with airlines, airports, industry associations, local officials and internal stakeholders, it has elected to limit changes to services across the country. In today’s statement, NAV CANADA explains there will be no site closures at air traffic control towers or flight service stations across the country.

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In addition, NAV CANADA will suspend aeronautical studies currently underway related to remote or northern locations until further notice.

“Stakeholder engagement is at the heart of NAV CANADA’s aeronautical study process. The valuable input we have received indicates that a balanced approach is warranted as the industry navigates the ongoing pandemic,” said Ray Bohn, President and CEO, NAV CANADA. “We are proactively taking these steps to maintain a consistent level of service as the aviation industry and our many partners shift their focus to recovery.”

NAV CANADA explains the aeronautical studies, which are still in progress, will consider other alternatives to safely streamline operations, including changes to hours of operation. Aeronautical studies that were related to hours of operation from the outset or that are related to Remote Aerodrome Advisory Services will also continue, according to NAV CANADA, excluding those pertaining to remote or northern locations.

NAV CANADA will be undertaking a Notice of Proposal process that will provide stakeholders an additional opportunity to give feedback on NAV CANADA’s specific recommendations.