Session 1: BC Wildfire Management
In a panel moderated by BC AC Vice-Chair Cathy Press, several speakers from agencies and industry which included Nav Canada, BC Wildfire Service, Transport Canada and Conair outlined challenges in ensuring collaboration with stakeholders that would ensure timely and effective communication when no-fly zones via NOTAMs are created around wildfires. A new flowchart resulted from efforts after the 2021 fire season. A delegate from the Nanaimo Airport Commission pointed out that their airport was adversely affected by a no-fly zone that he felt was too broad in scope. The panel responded that the NOTAM is the initial public notification of the declaration of a no-fly zone and that broader communication must come after.
Session 2: The Move to Space-Based Air Navigation
In a presentation made by Nav Canada’s Noel Dwyer via video link, the current state of affairs for ADS-B in Canada was outlined, including the implementation of ADS-B 1090ES for Canada’s Class A and B airspace (flights above 12,500 ft) on February 23, 2023, and the impending mandate for Class C, D and E airspace to follow, but no sooner than 2026. Noel emphasized the safety improvement that ADS-B technology will bring to aviation operations in Canada. He also stated that the U.S. system of 978UAT technology will not be an option in Canada.
Session 3: Vancouver Airspace Management Project (VAMP)
In another presentation made virtually, Nav Canada’s Fred Gagnon and Blake Cushnie updated the delegates on the progress of the VAMP, a multi-year endeavour. The speakers pointed out the high complexity of the Vancouver-Victoria airspace, which is among the most complex in Canada, if not the world. Stakeholder consultations are ongoing.
A new development with Nav Canada is ‘continuous descent operations’ whereby aircraft can descend on a steady glide path rather than ‘stepping down’, as is the conventional procedure. It is estimated that this procedure, referred to as Required Navigation Performance Authorization Required, or RNP AR, will reduce sound levels under the flight path by between 1 and 5 dB(A), reduce fuel consumption and, by extension, reduce greenhouse gases significantly as aircraft are able to maintain their descent profile with a constant (low) power setting.
Session 4: Aviation Environmental Regulations, Policies and Procedures
Transport Canada’s Jamie Johnson (Regional Director, Civil Aviation – Pacific Region) informed the delegates that transportation directly accounts for 26 percent of Canada’s CO2 emissions.
Jamie highlighted the reality that the regulatory framework (i.e., CARs) is moving at a much slower pace than technology. Also complicating the regulatory framework is coordination with other jurisdictions. He ended his presentation by encouraging industry to approach Transport Canada when seeking funding for climate change-related innovation and development.
This year’s lunch sponsor was the Victoria Airport, the host airport for 2022’s conference. Geoff Dickson, president and CEO of YYJ, welcomed the delegates to what is the first face-to-face meeting of the BC Aviation Council’s members in three years.
Session 5: Airport Sustainability
YVR’s CEO Tamara Vrooman described the efforts made toward her airport's carbon neutrality and net-zero goals for the airport, noting that it has achieved carbon neutrality and that the pandemic disrupted ongoing efforts to achieve net-zero, which she expects the airport to achieve by 2030. Tamara pointed out that the cost of reducing emissions is only going to go up, so the sooner we address these issues, the lower the total cost.
YLW’s Director Sam Samaddar added that Kelowna's targets include achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 using carbon credits and net-zero emissions by 2040, meaning that carbon credits will no longer be required.
Session 6: Aviation and the Environment
BCAC board governance committee chair Steve Michoulas moderated a panel discussion which included UVic professor and former BC Green Party leader Dr. Andrew Weaver, who reaffirmed that transportation is a major contributor to climate change. He pointed out that our demographic governance structure is geared to four-year election cycles but that climate change policies cannot produce measurable changes in the climate on such a short term. Ending on a positive note, Andrew encouraged industry to pursue solutions to reduce carbon emissions.
Session 7: Powerplants and Fuels of the Future
Representatives of Pratt and Whitney Canada and ZeroAvia discussed power technologies, with ZeroAvia informing the delegates that they are focussing on hydrogen/electric solutions for zero-emission propulsion as it is more scalable than battery/electric solutions and Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) solutions.
Canadian Council for Sustainable Fuels’ representative updated the delegates on progress on making SAF available to industry across Canada. He pointed out that SAF will cost 3 to 8 times the price of conventional jet fuel and that both incentives and regulatory measures will be necessary to drive adoption of SAF.
The Keynote speaker at the Monday evening dinner, sponsored by YVR, was Harbour Air founder and CEO Greg McDougall, who reviewed the e-Beaver project and the delays caused by the pandemic. Nevertheless, he still intends his company to have the first fare-paying passenger on an all-electric, commercial flight in the world within the next two years.