• Noise Mitigation Initiatives Engagement Plan

    The community served by Toronto Pearson expects the airport to be a good neighbour. One important way we can do this is by lessening the impact of our operations on the surrounding communities by reducing aircraft noise where possible.

    The Six Ideas

    In June 2015, the GTAA announced a three-phase Noise Mitigation Initiatives Engagement Plan with NAV CANADA to study six ideas that have the potential to reduce the noise impact of Toronto Pearson’s operations on surrounding neighbourhoods. These ideas are in response to feedback that has been provided by the community.

    Ideas 1 through 4 focus on how the aircraft will approach and depart Toronto Pearson while in the air. Because NAV CANADA is responsible for all aspects of airspace design, such as flight paths, they are responsible for the study of these four ideas.

    Ideas 5 and 6 explore the way the runways are allocated for aircraft arriving and departing from Toronto Pearson. Because the GTAA is responsible for runway assets at the airport, we are accountable for the study of these two ideas.



    1. New approaches for night-time operations

    During busy daytime periods, the safe management of air traffic necessitates certain restrictions. However, when traffic volumes are lighter at night and single runway operations are being used, there are options to improve descent profiles that could reduce noise impacts.

    Proposed Approach: NAV CANADA will design new approaches for use during designated night-time operations.

    2. New departure procedures for night-time operations

    There are opportunities to alter night-time departure procedures during lower traffic volume periods when only one runway is in use for departures. Increasing the altitude achieved before aircraft turns are permitted may deliver noise benefits for those under the departure flight path.

    Proposed Approach: NAV CANADA will design new departures for use during designated night-time periods.

    3. Increase downwind arrival speeds

    Changes to the published speeds on the “downwind” portion of the arrival flight path from 200 knots to 210 knots were implemented effective April 27, 2017 in the Canada Air Pilot, the pilot publication that includes all flight procedures in Canada. This change in speed restriction has the potential to reduce noise in some areas of the city by decreasing the need for flap use by pilots of larger aircraft needing to slow their airspeed as they approach the airport.

    Implemented April 2017.

    4. Use new technology to reduce the need for low altitude leveling by arriving aircraft

    Aircraft arriving at parallel runways require a level portion in the descent of each aircraft to ensure safe separation. There are noise impacts associated with power increases necessary to achieve low altitude level flight. New technologies could reduce the need for those level portions in flight profile and permit quieter, constant descent operations.

    Proposed Approach: NAV CANADA will study the potential use of new technologies.

    5. Weekend runway alternation

    Traffic volumes on Saturdays and most of Sunday tend to be lower than other days of the week. The establishment of weekend preferential runways could facilitate runway alternation on weekends. Alternating runways could provide periods of weekend respite from noise for communities impacted by these operations.

    Proposed Approach: NAV CANADA and GTAA will study the feasibility of establishing weekend preferential runways.

    6. Review of preferential runway system

    Preferential runways exist to ensure that aircraft landing and departing overnight impact the fewest people. The possibility to alternate use of night-time preferential runways might result in sharing night-time noise impacts from aircraft operations across more communities.

    Proposed Approach: GTAA is currently reviewing the continued appropriateness of its existing night-time preferential runways to ensure they meet the stated objectives.

    Last updated: May 2016


    The Phases of the Engagement Plan

    The Noise Mitigation Initiatives Engagement Plan consists of a three-phase plan for consulting with the community and implementing new noise mitigation measures.

    Phase 1 - Stakeholder Roundtables (Summer 2015), Phase 2 - Technical Analysis (2015-16), Phase 3 - Public Consultation (2018)


    Phase 1: Stakeholder Roundtables

    In July 2015, the GTAA and NAV CANADA began with Stakeholder Roundtables. The purpose of the Stakeholder Roundtables was to have an in-depth conversation with a small group of highly-engaged community members to get some initial feedback on scope and approach for studying the ideas further.

    Attendees of the Stakeholder Roundtables—including leaders of local community associations and groups, elected officials, and CENAC members—gave input on the Noise Mitigation Initiatives Engagement Plan process, criteria for decision making, and next steps.

    This phase is now completed and a summary of the reports and feedback are available below.


    Phase 2: Technical Analysis

    This phase of the Noise Mitigation Initiatives Engagement Plan is where each of the six ideas are thoroughly studied and analyzed for current and future airport traffic scenarios. The Technical Analysis Work Plan was informed by the feedback from the Stakeholder Roundtables.

    The Technical Analysis Process at a glance:

    • Understand the base case using 2015 air traffic data;
    • Identify option cases (2018 and 2023);
    • Third-party, independent consultant conducts the feasibility analysis of the option cases against the base case, including projected traffic levels, fleet mix, and fleet equipage;
    • Noise Modelling for each option case against the base case to understand any potential noise benefits and impacts.

    The Technical Analysis phase is taking longer than anticipated due to the complexity of the proposed changes, but we continue to make meaningful progress on the items identified in our work plan.

    Update: May 30 and 31, 2016 Technical Briefing Feedback
    On May 30 and 31, 2016, we invited participants from the Phase 1 Stakeholder Roundtables, as well as CENAC members, to a technical briefing to provide an update on our progress. The feedback from these sessions will help us finalize options as we move forward with next steps in the Technical Analysis.

    View the May 30 and May 31, 2016, Technical Briefing presentation materials.

    View the May 30 and May 31, 2016, Technical Briefing Feedback presentation.

    View the May 30 and May 31, 2016, Technical Briefing Feedback.

    This phase is now complete.


    Phase 3: Public Consultation and Input Gathering

    This phase of the Toronto Noise Mitigation Initiatives Engagement Plan follows learning the results of the Technical Analysis. At this point, there will be clear data explaining the potential community benefits or impacts of each idea.

    The GTAA and NAV CANADA will begin a broad public consultation to understand community preferences and concerns for the ideas that have the possibility of implementation.

    This phase is ongoing.


    Presentations, Archives, and Reports

    Phase 1: Supporting Materials—Stakeholder Roundtables



    Next Steps: Technical Analysis

    The feedback obtained through the Stakeholder Roundtables informs the technical study of each idea during the next phase of the process. An outline of the study plan is provided in the Technical Analysis Workplan. A full public consultation is planned for 2016.


    Frequently Asked Questions

  • Hide/Show all answers below

    • I’m hearing about looking at ideas to improve noise impacts. Can I have more information?

      We recognize that airports have impacts—such as noise on local communities. While airplane noise can’t be eliminated entirely, Toronto Pearson wants to be a good neighbour to the surrounding communities. One way to do this is to lessen the impact of our operations on our neighbours by reducing aircraft noise where possible. Together, NAV CANADA and the GTAA are studying six ideas we think will benefit the surrounding communities as part of the Toronto Noise Mitigation Initiatives Engagement Plan – six ideas with the potential for some noise relief are currently under review. The technical analysis will be completed in 2016. After that, we will conduct public consultation to discuss the results.

    • What is the purpose of the Noise Mitigation Initiatives Engagement Plan?

      The purpose of the Toronto Noise Mitigation Initiatives is to explore some ideas with potential for noise relief for the communities impacted by airport operations.

      The Noise Mitigation Initiatives Engagement Plan outlines how the GTAA and NAV CANADA have and will continue to consult with impacted stakeholders (residents, community groups, elected officials, industry stakeholders).

      The three phases of the engagement are:

      • Phase 1 – Stakeholder Roundtables (Summer 2015)
        This phase is now completed and a summary of reports and feedback are available above.
      • Phase 2 – Technical Study (Fall/Winter 2015-16)
        This phase is ongoing.
      • Phase 3 – Public Consultation (2016)
        This is the next phase; timing to be confirmed.


    • What happened to all the other ideas that were submitted by the community?

      Some of the ideas that were submitted to NAV CANADA and the GTAA are reflected as part of the six ideas.

      We have posted a document in the Presentations, Archives, and Reports section above, which includes a list of ideas that have been submitted. For each idea, details are included as well as an indication as to whether it was included or not, and if not, why.

    • Why submit noise complaints if the flight paths are not going to change as a result of my complaints?

      We take the concerns of all community members affected by our operations seriously. We take a balanced approached when assessing any noise mitigation initiatives.

      The complaints help us understand what impacts our airport operations are having on the community and help us:

      • gauge level of concern over a specific procedure or operation;
      • determine where to focus our community outreach;
      • check that procedures are being followed and there is no deviation from noise abatement procedures;
      • identify trends or irregularities that may need to be investigated or assessed;
      • assess trials;
      • communicate with the community about our operations, provide accurate information (address myths/rumours or inaccurate information);
      • inform elected officials about community concerns; and
      • assess future impacts of our growth.