YVR looking at changing flight paths to minimize noise over Delta

YVR flight paths were adjusted in 2007, but in the near future there could be some further changes to them | Photo: Sandor Gyarmati

The Vancouver International Airport is going to work with NAV Canada to see if some flight paths might be safely altered over Delta.

That was the assurance YVR representatives offered during a presentation to Delta council last week to talk about the airport authority’s activities and initiatives.

Craig Richmond, president and CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority, said flight paths were adjusted in 2007, but in the near future there could be some further changes to them.

“What we’ve learned with noise is that a change is often times very unsettling. You buy a house and aircraft, even if they’re up at 3,000 feet where there were no aircraft, they’re shifted by a mile or two miles and they’re over your house. So, we work very closely with NAV Canada on what we can do to vary those routes and still stay safe.

“I think there’s some technologies in the future, the near future, that will enable a little bit more of a variety in the flight paths while still maintaining separation and also affording the aircraft and airlines more efficient routing. I think that will help,” said Richmond.

“But there will always be aircraft over Delta heading to the airport, there’s just no way around that,” he added.

The YVR 2037 Master Plan, recently approved by the federal government, notes the airport is committed to proactively working with communities that could be impacted by increases in air traffic noise.

Noting the City of Delta expressed concerns regarding a forecast increase in air traffic over the community, the document states, “YVR is committed to maintaining ongoing dialogue and consulting on any substantial projects or airspace changes in partnership with NAV Canada.”

In addition to YVR’s existing Aeronautical Noise Management Committee, the airport states it plans to set up a Delta-focused noise management discussion group that would include citizen representatives.

A civic report to Delta council last year noted the city has heard from a number of residents concerned about the significant number of aircraft movements projected in the master plan.

Aircraft movements over Tsawwassen are projected to increase by 430 per cent, while North Delta would experience a 154 per cent increase.

The report notes that while those increases are years away, staff believe this is a good opportunity to propose a number of initiatives for the 2019-2023 YVR Noise Management Plan that could help establish a more comprehensive aircraft noise and flight path baseline for Delta.

The initiatives include increasing the number of noise monitors in Delta, the airport undertaking a study to determine which areas of Metro Vancouver are most impacted by aircraft movements, having a database of community members interested in receiving future correspondence related to airspace change and enhancing the YVR Web Track tool.

Delta currently has noise monitoring stations at South Delta and Delview secondary schools and at the North Delta Recreation Centre.

Delta Optimist