Regulations Governing Aircraft Noise
The Federal Minister of Transport is responsible for setting aircraft noise regulations in Canada. The Minister derives this authority from the distribution of powers defined in Canada’s Constitution.
The Minister has exercised this authority by setting noise certification requirements for jet aircraft in consultation with the international community, and adopting noise abatement procedures for each airport published as regulations under the Canada Aeronautics Act. The noise abatement procedures currently in place at the Airport have grown out of consultation with the community through the Advisory Committee on the Environment, airlines, municipalities, Transport Canada and the airport.
Noise abatement procedures are aircraft operating requirements specifically designed to reduce noise impacts on communities and neighbourhoods surrounding airports.
Since jet aircraft first arrived at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport in the 1950s, noise levels have decreased substantially as aircraft engine technology has advanced. Part of the reduction in noise levels can be attributed to aircraft certification requirements. Because of the global nature of aviation, the noise requirements for aircraft are set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and adopted by member countries. ICAO is guided by the strategic objective to minimize the adverse effect of global civil aviation on the environment.
Noise Abatement Procedures
Noise abatement procedures (NAPs) are in-flight operations designed to minimize noise disturbances to residential areas along flight paths, as well as areas close to the Airport.
Noise Abatement Procedures are published in the Canada Air Pilot, a document describing flight and other aircraft operating procedures for each airport in Canada. The noise abatement procedures outlined in the Canada Air Pilot are adopted into regulation by the Canada Aeronautics Act.
The noise abatement procedures described in the Canada Air Pilot apply primarily to jet aircraft and specify departure and arrival altitude, flight paths, preferential runway use, nighttime operating restrictions, and other restrictions designed to reduce noise disturbance to surrounding neighbourhoods. The procedures in the Canada Air Pilot are a result of consultation between the airport, NAV CANADA, Transport Canada, the airlines and the local community.
The noise abatement procedures in place for Winnipeg Richardson International Airport are consistent with those for other international airports across the country, but are specific to the pattern of land use around the airport, the runway layout and the wind conditions which influence safe aircraft arrivals and departures.
Night-time Operating Restrictions
A series of night specific restrictions, referred to as Quiet Mode Operations, have been implemented through the Canada Air Pilot in an effort to minimize noise disturbances.
Night-time restrictions cover a number of aircraft operations including:
a) Runway Use Preferential Runway Use between 11pm and 7am. Consistent with safe operating procedures, air traffic controllers will attempt to divert as many nighttime departures and arrivals as possible away from residential areas unless operational conditions, such as weather systems, wind direction, wind speed.
The use of non-preferred runways occurs most commonly in the spring and fall when predominant winds are shifting.
b) Departure Procedures Jet aircraft are not to depart south or southwest from a mid way point on the runway. This abatement procedure effectively means aircraft have achieved a higher altitude by the time they are flying over residential areas.
c) Flight Training Prior approval is required for local flight training during the hours of 11pm to 7am to ensure that only flight training activities requiring darkness occur. These flights must also comply with arrival/departure and noise abatement procedures set out in the Canada Air Pilot.
d) Maintenance Engine Run-ups Run-ups are designed to test aircraft functionality after maintenance procedures or repairs and differ from warming up aircraft engines prior to departure. Restrictions on aircraft run-ups have been implemented to minimize disturbance levels for those living adjacent to the Airport. During the day, high power run-ups are restricted to designated areas away from residential areas. Between 11 PM and 7 AM, aircraft engine run-ups require prior Airport approval. This ensures that nighttime run-ups are those that cannot be delayed to later in the day. All nighttime run-ups are restricted to areas away from residential areas.
e) Reverse Thrust Reverse thrust is not permitted unless required for the safety of the aircraft.
f) Powerback Operations Aircraft are not permitted to powerback.
Winnipeg Richardson International Airport's attenuation wall was designed to contain the impact of airside noise, thereby reducing noise disturbances for surrounding neighbourhoods. The wall was constructed at the end of Apron 4 between the Perimeter Aviation terminal and the Western Canada Aviation Museum on the South East side of the Airport. The wall acts to decrease noise disturbances caused by idling, taxiing, and engine run-ups from aircraft.