Proposed Changes to NAV CANADA Navigation Performance

Updates were provided to my office during a meeting with a NAV CANADA representative. These updates are being proposed for arrival routes to Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International (CYOW) to support further use of Required Navigation Performance (RNP), a flight procedure that levers satellite-based positioning and modern flight management systems to manage an aircraft’s approach to a runway.


RNP allows for flexibility in the design of arrival flight paths that are more predictable and efficient. RNP is the most reliable way to achieve Continuous Descent Approaches, which reduce fuel consumption and noise associated with level segments.


NAV CANADA endeavours to design new flight paths that meet safety and efficiency requirements while being sensitive to community impacts. The proposed routes will result in a cumulative reduction of more than 750 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) each year. Where possible, the routes were designed to avoid residential communities.


I have been in communications with NAV CANADA and they have supplied me with the following overview:

  • Like all Wards in Ottawa, Stittsville currently experiences overflight of aircraft. While efforts are made to avoid residential communities when designing flight paths, it is not possible to avoid them entirely while meeting safety and capacity requirements and meeting design criteria.
  • The loudest aircraft overflights that can be observed today are departures. This will continue to be the case as no changes are proposed for departures. As such, this analysis focuses on arrivals to Runway 07.
  • Runway 07 receives approximately 24% of arrivals to Ottawa Macdonald Cartier International Airport. When in use, approximately 18% per cent of aircraft approach from a direction that requires use of a flight path that brings aircraft above or near Stittsville.
  • There are two key proposed changes to note for Stittsville:
  • The implementation of RNP will result in some aircrafts avoiding Ward 6 altogether, as they will be able to lever the new technology to perform a turn over the greenbelt, thereby avoiding our ward.
  • The update to the standard arrival routes will result in a small increase – approximately three to five flights a day – overflying the region when Runway 07 is in use.


  • The cumulative noise exposure for Ward 6 as a result of aviation is low, and noise modeling shows it is expected to remain this way if proposed changes are implemented. This is due to the relatively small arrival traffic volume over the area and the fact that the greatest source of aircraft noise for the area results from departures.


Overall, the proposed changes are expected to result in approximately three to five additional aircraft overflights per day when Runway 07 is in use. While noise modeling shows minimal changes to community noise exposure resulting from aircraft operations to Macdonald Cartier Airport, residents may nonetheless observe aircraft flying in slightly different patterns. It is for this reason that NAV CANADA are conducting community consultation, to ensure residents have an opportunity to understand and provide input on proposed changes.


To learn more about these upcoming changes and leave their comments, please visit the NAV CANADA website here.