Idea 2: Night-time departures

Proposed action

The implementation of new night-time departure procedures that better avoid residential areas.

Reasons for new night-time departure procedures

While traffic levels are typically lower at night than during the day, aircraft noise can be more noticeable for some residents at night because other community and household noises are typically lower.

Lower demand and fewer aircraft in Toronto Pearson’s airspace at night give us the opportunity to use departure procedures that avoid populated areas and impact fewer people.

How the new departure procedures work

NAV CANADA has proposed a mix of strategies to provide better departure routes. These include changing the location where aircraft turn towards their destination – either by increasing the required altitude they must reach before turning, or identifying an better location for their turn.

When the new departure procedures would be used

Night-time departure procedures will be used between the hours of 12:30 am and 6:30 am. If possible, use of the new procedures would start earlier, but this is limited to low traffic periods.

The benefits

Overall, the new night-time departure procedures reduce the number of households overflown. The following table shows the estimated reduction in homes overflown for each new departure procedure when compared to a typical, sample departure.

Runway 05 - departures turning to the east

  • Change in population overflown at greater than 60 dBA: -39%
  • Approximate change in population (based on 2016 census): -172,000

Runway 05 - departures turning to the west

  • Change in population overflown at greater than 60 dBA: + 6% (but -20% decrease at 65 dBA)
  • Approximate change in population: +14,000 (but -28,000 at 65 dBA)

Runway 23 - departures turning to the east

  • Change in population overflown at greater than 60 dBA: -67%
  • Approximate change in population: -221,000

Runway 23 - departures turning to the west

  • Change in population overflown at greater than 60 dBA: -54%
  • Approximate change in population: -115,000

Note: Population numbers are based on 2016 Census. The current baseline departure represents the typical average profile and is compared to the expected future profile.

The impact

New proposed night-time departures have been optimized to avoid more households than a typical departure that is flown today. Opportunities to fly over industrial or green spaces were identified. Depending on the specific runway, the strategies include either delaying the point at which an aircraft turns by increasing the required altitude they must reach before turning or identifying a better location for their turn.

There are on average four to six departures overnight. While departure volumes are low, departures can be more noticeable because of the higher thrust settings.

Specific impacts will depend on where you live. The maps below show the proposed departure procedure on a runway-by-runway basis as well as associated noise modeling (more about noise modeling below). We have also included samples of current flight tracks as flown and associated noise contours.

If you live:

  • east of the airport, you’ll be interested in maps related to Runway 05
  • west of the airport, check Runway 23

No changes are proposed for Runways 15L/R and 33L/R.

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