Advisory Circular (AC) No. 300-011

Designation of Canadian International Airports

Issuing Office: Civil Aviation
Document No.: AC 300-011
File Classification No.: Z 5000-34
Issue No.: 01
RDIMS No.: 8818696-V4
Effective Date: 2014-02-19


  1. This Advisory Circular (AC) is provided for information and guidance purposes. It describes an example of an acceptable means, but not the only means, of demonstrating compliance with regulations and standards. This AC on its own does not change, create, amend or permit deviations from regulatory requirements, nor does it establish minimum standards.

1.1 Purpose

  1. The purpose of this document is to provide guidance information for an airport to receive official   Canadian designation as “International’, in accordance with all applicable domestic and international requirements.

1.2 Applicability

  1. This document applies to airport operators requesting international designation, air operators, Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) Headquarters and regional personnel.

1.3 Description of Changes

  1. Not applicable


2.1 Reference Documents

  1. It is intended that the following reference materials be used in conjunction with this document:

    1. Aeronautics Act ( R.S. , 1985, c. A-2);

    2. Part III, Subpart 02 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs)—Airports;

    3. Part III, Subpart 03 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) —Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting at Airports and Aerodromes;

    4. TP 312, 4th Edition—March 1993—Aerodrome Standards and Recommended Practices (revised 03/2005);

    5. ICAO Annex 4 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation — Aeronautical Charts;

    6. ICAO Annex 9 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation — Facilitation;

    7. ICAO Annex 14 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation — Aerodrome Design and operations;

    8. ICAO Annex 17 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation— Security;

    9. ICAO Doc. 7100, 2010 (annually produced) – Tariffs for Airports and Air Navigation Services;

    10. ICAO Doc. 7300/9, 2006— Convention on International Civil Aviation;

    11. ICAO Doc. 8755/13, October, 1990 —Air Navigation Plan – North Atlantic, North American and Pacific Regions;

    12. NAV CANADA publication—AIP Canada (ICAO);

    13. Transport Canada (TC) publication TP 14371, Transport Canada—Aeronautical Information Manual (TC-AIM);

    14. Transport Canada (TC) publication AC 302-012, ICAO Type A Obstacle Charts.

2.2 Cancelled Documents

  1. Not applicable.

  2. By default, it is understood that the publication of a new issue of a document automatically renders any earlier issues of the same document null and void.

2.3 Definitions and Abbreviations

  1. The following definitions are used in this document:

    1. Aeronautical Chart: means a representation of a portion of Earth, its culture and relief, specifically designated to meet the requirements of air navigation (ICAO Annex 4 definition);

    2. Application:  means a written request from an airport operator for consideration by Transport Canada (TC) to be designated and published as an “International Airport”;

    3. Designated International Airport:  means an airport, designated by Canada, providing aircraft fire fighting to support international commercial air transport as an airport of entry and departure for international air traffic, where the formalities incident to customs, immigration, public health, animal and plant quarantine and similar procedures are carried out.  Transborder commercial air transport operations solely conducted between departure points from within the continental USA to Canadian customs ports of entry are not deemed to be international through bilateral agreement;

    4. International airport:  means any airport designated by the Contracting State in whose territory it is situated as an airport of entry and departure for international air traffic, where the formalities incident to customs, immigration, public health, animal and plant quarantine and similar procedures are carried out (ICAO Annex 9). (In Canada, does not include transborder air traffic with the USA);

    5. Minister:  means the Minister of Transport;

    6. State:  means the Government of Canada as signatory to the ICAO Convention and includes all appropriate federal departments and associated agencies;

    7. Type “A” Obstacle Chart: means a depiction of a plan and profile of each runway regularly used by international civil aviation, any associated stopway or clearway, the take-off flight path area and obstacles, to enable air operators to comply with operating limitations (ICAO Annex 4).

  2. The following abbreviations are used in this document:

    1. CBSA:  Canada Border Services Agency;

    2. CFS:  Canada  Flight  Supplement;

    3. CIC:  Citizenship and Immigration Canada;

    4. GOC:  Government of Canada;

    5. HC: Health Canada;

    6. HQ:  Head Quarter;

    7. ICAO:  International Civil Aviation Organization;

    8. OPI:  Office of Primary Interest,  Transport Canada, Chief of Flight Standards Division and,

    9. TCCA:  Transport Canada Civil Aviation.


  1. Historically, Transport Canada was the owner and operator of airports and designated airports as “International” through policies based on the population in the area, the aircraft size and the location of the facility, except those airports that dealt solely with transborder traffic to and from United States of America,. With the transfer of airports to private ownership and/or operation and the evolution of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs), these policies are no longer applicable and clarification in needed to outline the international requirements, most notably with respect to the Convention.

  2. Over the past few years, the Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) Standards Branch - Aerodromes and Air Navigation Standards division (now known as Flight Standards Division) has led discussions internally within TCCA and externally with key agencies such as Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Health Canada (HC), Agriculture Canada Food Inspection Agency and Environment Canada to clarify the issues and to identify the requirements and expectations of the international community with respect to “International Airports”. The objective of these discussions was to re-establish the process by which the other Federal agencies with an interest in these airports would be involved in the review of an application for the designation of “International Airports”. It was agreed by the participants that Transport Canada, Civil Aviation Standards Branch, Flight Standards Division (previously known as Aerodromes and Air Navigation) – HQ would be the coordinating OPI on this issue and liaise with other Government of Canada (GoC) departments and agencies such as the Canada Border Services Agency, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Health Canada, Agriculture Canada Food Inspection Agency and Environment Canada before any request for official designation is to proceed, as these agencies have the regulatory oversight of the requirements outlined in the ICAO Annexes.

  3. However, it has to be noted that Flight Standards Division – HQ’s role is solely limited to providing general information and guidance related to those other government agencies. The airport operators have the obligation to contact directly those agencies with their requests and comply with their regulation and requirements.


4.1 General Policy

  1. When a business decision has been made by an airport operator to provide service to international commercial air transport operations, an initial request for official designation by the Minister as a Canadian international airport should be directed to the appropriate Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) Regional office.

  2. Having the obligation to designate as international those airports that serve international commercial air transport operations, Transport Canada will evaluate such requests in terms of community support, airport physical characteristics, facilities and operational needs of the critical aircraft.  It is important that the airport operator indicates and confirms that the community and concerned air carriers support their request.  This will ensure that all airport stakeholders having an interest in such a designation will have agreed upon any future costs arising from such a request.

  3. Once community and air carrier’s support for international designation have been verified by TCCA Regional office, an initial evaluation of the airport facilities and services should be conducted to also verify the adequacy for the intended services and the consistency with the airport requirements of ICAO Annex 9 - Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) on Facilitation. 

4.2 ICAO Operational Specifications

  1. Functional criteria established by ICAO for the servicing of international air traffic by international airports, in accordance with Annex 9 - Facilitation, are as follows:

    1. General:

      1. Expeditious processing of:

        • A. Passengers;

        • B. Crew;

        • C. Baggage;

        • D. Cargo;  and

        • E. Mail.

      2. Provision of efficient:

        • A. Customs;

        • B. Immigration  and

        • C. Quarantine and health border clearance services.

      3. Facilities and services are, where possible:

        • A. flexible and capable of expansion to meet traffic growth;

        • B. increased in regards to security requirements arising from a potential  threat; or

        • C. changed and improved to support border integrity measures.

      4. Aviation Security requirements (developed in Annex 17) in compliance with the Canadian Aviation Security Regulations (CASR).

      5. Planning of new facilities (including cargo support) or major requirements for modifications to the existing facilities are discussed as required, at the earliest stages of the planning with:

        • A. public authorities,

        • B. aircraft operators; and

        • C. appropriate entities representing airport users.

    2. Airport traffic flow arrangements:

      1. Common provision;

        • A. Airport operators provide adequate facilities to permit embarkation and disembarkation of passengers without delay;

        • B. Airport operators plan and organize appropriate parking area and servicing arrangements for aircrafts.

      2. Outbound passengers, crew and baggage;

        • A. State shall make arrangements for sufficient number of controls channels so that clearance, if required, of outbound passengers and crew may be obtained with the least possible delay.  Additional channels shall be available, if possible, to which complicated cases may be directed without delaying the main flow of passengers.

      3. Inbound passengers, crew and baggage;

        • A. State shall make arrangements for sufficient number of control channels so that clearance, if required, of inbound passengers and crew may be obtained with the least possible delay.  Additional channel(s) shall be available if possible to which complicated cases may be directed without delaying the main flow of passengers.

      4. Transit and transfer of passengers and crew;

        • A. Airport operators shall ensure that the transit and transfer of passengers and crew are expedited between locations and facilities and that they can obtain assistance in carriage of baggage to enable them to transfer their belonging from baggage claim areas to points as close as possible to areas where surface transportation from the airport or between airport terminals is provided.

      5. Miscellaneous facilities and services in passenger terminal buildings;

        • A. Airport and aircraft operators, as appropriate, provide facilities where unclaimed, unidentified and mishandled baggage is kept securely until cleared, forwarded, claimed or disposed of in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. 

        • B. Authorized personnel of the aircraft operator or service provider shall have access to baggage during hours of airport operation.

      6. Cargo and mail handling and clearance facilities are provided;

    3. Facilities required for implementation of public health, emergency medical relief, and animal and plant quarantine measures:

      1. State (in cooperation with airport operators) shall ensure the maintenance of public health, including human, animal, and plant quarantine;

      2. State shall ensure that handling and distribution procedures for consumable products (i.e. food, drink and water supplies) on board aircraft or in the airport are in compliance with the International Health Regulations (2005) and relevant guidelines of the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization and national airport regulations.

      3. State, in cooperation with airport and aircraft operators, shall ensure that a safe sanitary and efficient system is instituted for the removal and disposal of all waste, waste water and other matters dangerous to the health of persons, animals or plants, in compliance with the International Health Regulations (2005) and relevant guidelines of the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization and national airport regulations.

      4. State, in cooperation with airport operators, shall ensure that international airports maintain facilities and services for first-aid attendance on site, and that an appropriate alternative is available for expeditious referral of occasional more serious cases to prearranged competent medical attention.

      5. Animals and plants handling and quarantine: When scheduling examinations of import cargo, priority shall be given to the examination of live animals and perishable goods and to other goods which the public authorities’ acceptance is urgently required.

    4. Facilities required for clearance controls and operation of control services:

      1. State shall provide sufficient services to the public authorities concerned, without charge, during working hours established by those authorities (published service hours in AIS publications i.e. CFS).  Airport and Aircraft operators may wish to voluntarily provide or offer enhanced services to users for free or fee-paid
    5. Unruly passengers:

      1. State should ensure that airport and aircraft operators and public authorities provide training to relevant personal concerning the identification and management of unruly passengers, including recognition and refusing of escalating situations and crisis containment.
    6. Passenger amenities:

      1. State shall provide, at such times as to meet the needs of the travelling public, adequate exchange of funds of other States through governmental agencies or shall authorize private agencies to do so.  These Facilities shall be available to arriving and departing passengers.

Note 1:  With respect to ICAO Annex 9 – Facilitation, the role of TCCA is limited to the verification that the required facilities do exist.  The delivery of the services would be provided and overseen by a variety of other agencies such as the CBSA, CIC and HC, to name a few.

Note 2:  ICAO Documents are available for purchase through the ICAO On-Line Publications Purchasing Site at .

4.3 Initial Review and Assessment

  1. Once the initial review of the airport facilities and services is completed, the regional assessment should be forwarded to the TCCA Headquarters, Standards Branch - Flight Standards Division for final review, assessment and approval. If the request is approved, TCCA will inform both NAV CANADA and ICAO for publication in the appropriate aeronautical information publications and other documents.

4.4 TCCA policy on Airport Designation

  1. In order to meet Canada’s obligations under Article 10 of the ICAO Convention, TCCA Flight Standards has implemented a policy and procedures for the designation of an airport as international which includes the following:

    1. Demonstrated compliance by the airport operator is required with respect to:

      1. Airport certification under the Canadian Aviation Regulations(CARs), Part III, Subpart 02 – Airports, including a reference in the Airport Operations Manual (AOM) of the elements required for international designation;

      2. Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF), in accordance with CAR 303, during all published hours of airport operation, and including a reference in the AOM of the requirement for full scale emergency exercises at intervals not exceeding two (2) years, consistent with CAR 302.208 (2) (a) and ICAO Annex 14, standard 9.1.13 – Aerodrome emergency exercise.

      3. ICAO Annex 4 – Aeronautical Charts (see Advisory Circular (AC) 302-012 – ICAO Type A Obstacle Charts);

      4. ICAO Annex 9 – Facilitation;

      5. The Canadian Aviation Security Regulations (CASRs);

      6. The requirements of:

        • A. Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Operations Branch, Operational Programs Directorate; People Processing Division, Port of Entry Operations;

        • B. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC);

        • C. Health Canada (HC);

        • D. Agriculture (importation of plants, animals and their products):

          • I. Canadian Food Inspection Agency - Animal Health and Production Division

          • II. Plant Health Division (Importation of plants and seeds); and

          • III. Environment Canada – Canada Wildlife Service (importation of endangered species i.e. plant, animal, and by-products);

  2. Once verified by TC, the airport can be designated as an airport supporting international operations and identified to the international aviation community in such publications as the ICAO Doc 8755/13 – Air Navigation Plan – North Atlantic, North American, and Pacific Regions, Canada Flight Supplement (CFS), along with other applicable Aeronautical Information Publications such as ICAO AIP Canada.

  3. Once designated, TCCA safety inspectors should include verification of the elements required for designation as part of the TC on-going regulatory oversight activities.

4.5 Additional Criteria

  1. Before TCCA submits an airport listing to ICAO for international publication, the airport operator should have the following minimum requirements in place:

    1. valid airport certificate;

    2. electronic approach aids;

    3. visual approach aids;

    4. runway / taxiway / apron lighting;

    5. on-site Air Traffic Services, control tower or flight service station;

    6. published communications services and frequencies;

    7. runway length and width suitable for critical aircraft;

    8. runway maintenance service and condition reports;

    9. customs inspection services and facility; and

    10. fuelling services and published fuel types.

  2. With respect to TCCA’s own requirements under the ICAO Convention, Annex 14, 6th Edition – Aerodromes, section 1.4.1 confirms that “States shall certify aerodromes used for international operations in accordance with the specifications contained in this Annex as well as other relevant ICAO specifications through an appropriate framework.”  The document currently in use for Canadian airports, TP 312, 4th Edition – Aerodrome Standards and Recommended Practices, is similar in content and structure to ICAO Annex 14, 6th Edition, Volume I – Aerodrome Design and Operations, that outlines the various requirements for aerodrome certification.  Note that the requirements for “Rescue and Firefighting” equipment and services contained in the Annex have been implemented by TCCA through CAR 303 – Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting at Airports and Aerodromes

  3. Designated International Airports are also required to meet specific TP 312 standards as follows:

    1. Section 2.3.4; standard, relating to  ICAO Type A Obstacle Charts;

    2. Section 2.4.1; standard, relating to the bearing strength of pavement; and

    3. Section 3.6.7; standards and, relating to the provision of an isolated aircraft parking position.


5.1 Government of Canada

  1. It remains the responsibility of TCCA to ensure that designated international airports provide the facilities and services as an integral part of international certification.

  2. Article 10 of the Convention provides for the signatory governments to, subject to state regulations, ensure that aircraft entering and departing the territory of a contracting state are required to do so from airports “...designated by the state for the purpose of customs and other examination.”  The reference to “...purpose of customs and other examination” in Article 10, would include the requirements of various departments and agencies such as the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Health Canada.

5.2 Airport Operators

  1. ICAO Annex 9 – Facilitation, Annex 9, 13th Edition, July 2011 is the international standard used by TCCA to verify, prior to receiving designation from the Minister as “International” that an airport serving international commercial air traffic is doing so in accordance with this international standard and recommended practices.

  2. There is a requirement for the airport operator of an international airport to provide information relating to airport and air navigation service charges levied in 187 signatory States and listed in the ICAO Doc. 7100 – Tariffs for Airports and Air Navigation Services.   This document contains various background information, including a comparison by State of landing, take-off and passenger related charges for three different types of aircraft, exchange rates and a list showing maximum permissible aircraft weight by aircraft type.  Requested information should include the following charge or fee:

    1. landing charges;

    2. general terminal charges for passenger aircraft (domestic and international);

    3. aircraft parking charges;

    4. daily aircraft parking charges;

    5. monthly aircraft parking charges;

    6. loading bridge charges;

    7. policing and security charges;

    8. airport improvement fees;

    9. U.S. pre-clearance charges;

    10. central de-icing facility charges (capital cost recovery rate);

    11. common use facilities fees;

    12. turn-around charges;

    13. landed seat fee;

    14. air travellers security charges; and

    15. air navigation charges.


  1. Not applicable


  1. Not applicable.


For more information, please contact the: Chief, Flight Standards (AARTA)

Phone: 613-998-9855
Fax: 613-954-1602

Suggestions for amendment to this document are invited, and should be submitted via:

[Original signed by]

Aaron McCrorie
Director, Standards
Civil Aviation


The addresses of the designated authorities concerned with the entry, transit and departure of international air traffic are as follows:

  • a. Customs:

    Operational concerns:
    Canada Border Services Agency
    Operations Branch
    Operational Programs Directorate
    People Processing Division
    Port of Entry Operations
    Tel.: 1-800-461-9999 (EN & FR)


  • b. Immigration:

    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    219 Laurier Avenue West
    Ottawa ON 
    K1A 1L1

    Tel.: 613-957-6513
    1-888-242-2100 (Canada)

    If anywhere outside of Canada, contact the Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate responsible for your region. For contact information, refer to the Visa Offices section of Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Web site:

  • c. Health:

    Health Canada
    Address Locator 0900C2
    Ottawa ON  
    K1A 0K9

    Tel.: 613-957-2991

    Fax: 613-941-5366

  • d. Agriculture:

    Importation of animals and their products:
    Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    Animal Health and Production Division
    59 Camelot Drive
    Ottawa ON
    K1A 0Y9

    Tel.: 613-773-2342
    Fax: 613-773-7569

    Importation of plants and seeds:
    Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    Plant Health Division
    59 Camelot Drive
    Ottawa ON
    K1A 0Y9

  • Tel.: 613-773-2342
    Fax: 613-773-7569

    Importation of endangered species (plant, animal and by-products):
    Environment Canada
    Canadian Wildlife Service
    Inquiry Centre
    10 Wellington, 23rd Floor
    Gatineau QC
    K1A 0H3

    Tel.: 819-997-2800
    Fax: 819-994-1412

  • e. Commercial Air Service Flights Air Transport Services  (Overflights and Technical Stops):

    Transport Canada
    International Operations Branch
    Foreign Inspection Division (AARJF)
    Enterprise Building, 11th Floor, Suite 1110
    427 Laurier Avenue West
    Ottawa ON
    K1R 7Y2

    Tel.: 613-998-5020
    Fax: 613-998-4860 
    Cell (Outside of normal working hours): 613-290-2733


    Under normal circumstances, foreign air operators are encouraged to use a Fax as the preferred method of contacting the Foreign Inspection Division.

  • In a time-critical situation, the Transport Canada Civil Aviation Contingency Operations (CACO), Aviation Operations Centre may be reached 24 hours a day by calling: 613-992-6853 or 1-877-992-6853.

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