There might be a little less noise over Delta from aircraft heading to the Vancouver International Airport.
Nav Canada last year announced that it was launching the Vancouver Airspace Modernization Project (VAMP) to review aircraft approach and departure operations in the Greater Vancouver and Southern Vancouver Island regions.
That project was initiated, in part, to address the significant forecasted commercial air traffic growth for YVR, which will result in increased future noise over Delta.
The city conveyed a number of concerns and suggestions including creating routes over unpopulated areas like oceans, highways, industrial/commercial areas, as well as focus the airspace design on the areas that are most impacted.
Nav Canada held consultations with numerous stakeholder groups and Delta staff participated in a number of sessions as a municipality and as an YVR Aeronautical Noise Management Committee member.
A report this week to council notes that a broader community consultation plan will be developed as part of the project.
It is anticipated that community consultations would likely occur sometime in 2021.
In the meantime, Nav Canada recently released its preliminary airspace design concepts for feedback.
The designs incorporate procedures based on Area Navigation (RNAV) and Required Navigation Performance (RNP) specifications.
RNAV is a method of airspace navigation which permits aircraft operation using point-to-point ground or space-based navigation aids.
RNP is a method of airspace navigation that uses the aircraft’s flight management system and satellite positioning to fly a precise three-dimensional arrival path in the sky.
The YVR 2037 Master Plan projects aircraft movements over Tsawwassen increasing by as much as 430 per cent, while North Delta would experience a 154 per cent increase
RNP navigation reduces track miles for arriving flights, allows for a continuous and quieter descent profile while also reducing flight time and fuel burn.
While not all operators are currently equipped with the necessary on board aircraft technology or aircrew training to fly an RNP approach, it is envisioned that RNP approaches will grow in use over conventional approaches in Vancouver airspace as airlines continue their transition of aircraft fleets and train air crews, the report notes.
Nav Canada has developed a number of conceptual RNP approaches for the Vancouver region and two of the approaches traverse Delta.
“Over time, the increased use of RNP procedures is expected to result in a reduction in aircraft overflights and associated aircraft noise over more populated areas. Staff has been cautioned by Nav Canada that even after RNP procedures are established, there will still be aircraft using conventional arrival routes and that some residents will still be able to observe aircraft utilizing RNP procedures,” the report explains.
“The overall overflight and noise reduction will be dependent on procedure implementation, uptake by operators, aircraft and aircrew compatibilities, and airspace conditions (e.g., weather, volume of aircraft, safety).”
The report adds that while still preliminary, the design concepts presented by Nav Canada indicate that effort has been made by airspace planners to mitigate aircraft noise impacts over Delta.
“This is positive news for Delta residents who are impacted by current standard terminal arrival routes over the community.”
However, the report also notes that due to the impact of COVID-19 on the industry, operators may continue to utilize aircraft without the ability to fly proposed RNP procedures for longer than originally projected.