NAV CANADA implements temporary level of service changes at 18 air traffic service facilities

Source: NAV CANADA, Saint John FSS

NAV CANADA continues to take action, implementing the best preventative measures possible to ensure the continuity and safety of Canada’s air navigation system throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

As part of this response, air navigation services will be temporarily suspended overnight at 18 air traffic service facilities, including air traffic control towers and flight service stations, and locations which receive remote airport advisory services. Transport Canada has approved these temporary changes to levels of service, which will be in effect for a period of 120 days, subject to prevailing conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Affected airports will remain open and aircraft will continue to be able to land and depart. For every site where overnight ATS service will be temporarily suspended, the following enhanced services will be available:

  • At a minimum, Limited Weather Information System which consists of hourly wind, temperature, dew point and altimeter information. This will maintain 24 hours/day IFR access to all airports.
  • Communication capability during all phases of flight, via flight information centers (FICs) and/or area control centers (ACCs). This will maintain communication between pilots and the respective FIC and/or ACC in order to provide current and forecast weather, NOTAM, IFR approach and departure clearances, with communication coverage to or below circuit altitude with most sites having coverage to the ground.

The temporary level of service change will allow NAV CANADA to implement flexible staffing, reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for our operational units. These new measures greatly reduce the likelihood of a full unit closure and keep operators and the flying public safe through continued delivery of essential air navigation services.

Quick Facts

  • This temporary change has been made after a prudent assessment of overnight traffic levels at all affected locations against the services required to fully ensure safe operations, in consultation with our unions and with the support of Transport Canada.
  • At its area control centres, NAV CANADA has implemented a “crew” system that minimizes interaction between teams. However, this level of staffing is not available at some of our regional facilities without the temporary reduction in service.
  • NAV CANADA has undertaken a full and detailed risk analysis to ensure that the temporary level of service changes at affected sites can be implemented safely. These changes will help to ensure that our critical services remain available for when there is demand.
  • Pilots can receive detailed information about these new levels of service through NOTAM.
  • NAV CANADA’s safety record is one of the best in the world amongst air navigation service providers. We have achieved this record based on a regulated decision-making approach with safety at the very core of all that we do.
  • These temporary reductions will be in effect in the next week for a period of 120 days, subject to prevailing conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specific details for each location are available by NOTAM.
  • Overnight air navigation services will be suspended at the following facilities:  Fort Nelson BC, Port Hardy BC, Prince Albert SK, Cranbrook BC, Penticton BC, Terrace BC, Red Deer Regional AB, Fort St. John BC, Kamloops BC, Deer Lake NL, Charlottetown PE, Saint John NB, St. Anthony NL, Sandspit BC, Sydney/J.A. Douglas McCurdy NS, Kewlona BC, Victoria Intl BC and Abbotsford BC.