Idea 1: Night-time approaches

Proposed action

The implementation of new night-time approaches that help avoid residential areas.

Reasons for new night-time approaches

While traffic levels are significantly lower at night than during the day, aircraft noise events can be more noticeable for some residents during these periods as ambient community and household noise levels are typically lower.

Lower demand and fewer aircraft in Toronto Pearson’s airspace at night provide the opportunity to employ routes that better avoid populated areas and impact fewer people.

How the new approach works

NAV CANADA will leverage satellite-based navigation technology, known as Area Navigation (RNAV), to design new night-time approaches. RNAV allows aircraft to fly a defined route using station referenced navigational aides (usually satellites) or on-board navigational equipment or both.

When the new approach would be used

Night-time approaches will be used between the hours of 12:30 am and 6:30 am. They require relatively low traffic levels to be operationally feasible; spikes in traffic increase complexity and require other approach types to be used. If possible, usage would start earlier, however use will be limited to very low traffic periods overnight.

While approaches have been developed for Runways 24L/R and 06L/R, these will see low usage given that the night-time preferential runways for east-west traffic are Runways 05 and 23.

The benefits

The new procedures will be designed to enable continuous descent and therefore will place aircraft higher on portions of the approach. They have been designed to reduce fly over of residential areas where possible in order to reduce the number of households overflown. Noise modelling analysis has resulted in the following estimated reduction in population overflown for each runway.

Runway 23

  • Change in population overflown at greater than 60 dba (depending on the transition): -8 to -44%
  • Approximate change in population for all approaches at greater than 60 dba: -112,000

Runway 24 L/R

  • Change in population overflown at greater than 60 dba (depending on the transition): -10 to -41%
  • Approximate change in population for all approaches at greater than 60 dba: -130,000

Runway 05

  • Change in population overflown at greater than 60 dBA (depending on the transition): -7 to -22%
  • Approximate change in population for all approaches at greater than 60 dBA: -29,000

Runway 06 L/R

  • Change in population overflown at greater than 60 dBA (depending on the transition): -2 to -30%
  • Approximate change in population for all approaches at greater than 60 dBA: -34,000

Note: Population numbers are based on 2016 Census. Estimates compare proposed approaches to a typical sample approach.

The impact

The new proposed night-time approaches have been optimized to avoid more households than the typical approach that is flown today. These approaches will support Continuous Descent Operations, which enable aircraft to be at higher altitudes and are generally quieter compared to procedures that require aircraft to employ low altitude level segments as they approach the airport.

There are approximately 30 to 40 arrivals per night over the period the night-time arrival procedures would be in use. Those flights would be further distributed between the multiple approaches to each runway, depending on where respective aircraft are arriving from.

Specific impacts will depend on where you live. The maps below show composites of the approaches to each runway and associated noise modeling (more about noise modeling below). The altitudes shown on the maps for this initiative are approximate – based on a 3 degree angle of descent - and will vary depending on air traffic sequencing and management requirements and the manner of operation by pilots.

We have also included samples of current flight tracks as flown and associated noise contours.

If you live: 

  • west of the airport, you’ll be interested in maps related to Runways 05 and 06L/R
  • east of the airport, check Runways 23 and 24L/R
  • north of the airport, check Runways 15L/R
  • south of the airport, check Runways 33L/R

Noise footprint videos

These time-lapse videos illustrates the moving noise footprint associated with aircraft overflight, observing a 737-800 using the new approaches.

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