Policy Letter 121/AARM


Procedures in Approving Scheduled Passenger Service Operations in Uncertified Aerodromes

File Number

AARX 1502-10-7-3/4/5 (AARXB)




To provide a policy that will outline the procedures to be followed by Aerodrome Safety and Commercial and Business Aviation inspectors when handling requests from air operators who wish to provide a scheduled passenger service using an uncertified aerodrome.


The Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs), Part III, Subpart 2, Airports, do not permit aerodrome operators to allow commercial scheduled passenger air services to utilize an uncertified aerodrome unless the Minister has issued an authorization pursuant to subsection 302.01(2)(b). According to subsection 302.01(3), the Minister shall issue this authorization, where it is possible to specify the conditions that will ensure a level of safety in respect of the use of the aerodrome that is equivalent to the level of safety established by this Subpart; and the Minister shall specify those conditions in the authorization.

Also, CARs Part VII (s. 703.15(2), 704.14(2), and 705.19(2)) with their corresponding Commercial Air Services Standards indicate that the Minister shall establish conditions which require the air operator and the aerodrome operator to ensure a level of safety in respect to the use of the aerodrome that is equivalent to the level of safety established by CARs Part III, Subpart 2.

In recognition of the need for co-ordination between Air Carrier Operational Standards, Air Carrier Certification Standards, and Air Navigation Policy and Standards branches, on October 3, 1995, a memorandum of agreement was created outlining the requirements and procedures to be followed by air carrier and aerodrome inspectors in handling requests from air operators who wish to operate a scheduled passenger carrying service using an uncertified aerodrome.

From the time the memorandum was executed, the process had not been followed with any degree of consistency within the regions. In addition to its inconsistent application, the memorandum provided little direction and/or guidance as to procedures to follow in establishing an equivalent level of safety.


The following procedures have been established to address this particular issue and to assist Aerodrome Safety and Commercial and Business Aviation (CBA) inspectors in handling requests from air operators who wish to provide a scheduled passenger service using an aerodrome that cannot meet certification criteria or is not certified because it is impractical to do so. The procedures are broken into two sections; they are "General Procedures" and "On-site Inspection of the uncertified aerodrome".

I) General Procedures

Upon receipt of a request from an air operator to provide a scheduled passenger service using a particular aerodrome, the following procedures shall be followed:

  1. Commercial and Business Aviation receives a 0045 form as a request from an air operator to use an aerodrome for a scheduled passenger service;
  2. Commercial and Business Aviation sends the 0045 form to Aerodrome Safety;
  3. Aerodrome Safety checks whether the aerodrome is certified or uncertified;

  4. if the aerodrome is "certified", the signed 0045 form would be returned to Commercial and Business Aviation, and no further action would be required by Aerodrome Safety;

  5. if the aerodrome is determined to be "uncertified", Aerodrome Safety will mail an Aerodrome Authorization application to the aerodrome operator and request completion and its return to Aerodrome Safety;

  6. when the aerodrome operator has completed and returned the Aerodrome Authorization application to Aerodrome Safety, a joint inspection by Aerodrome Safety and Commercial and Business Aviation will be conducted with the intent of issuing the Aerodrome Authorization and associated air operator authorization;
  7. the procedures for the required inspection of an aerodrome are listed in II) below.

II) On-site Inspection of the Aerodrome

The following procedures will be followed by Commercial and Business Aviation and Aerodrome Safety inspectors when conducting an on-site inspection of the aerodrome:

  1. In order to deal effectively with these requests, it is desirable that the CBA inspector involved be type qualified, or where a type qualification is not required, be thoroughly knowledgeable with the operations and systems associated with the aircraft to be used in the scheduled operation.
    NB: It is important to note that the CBA inspector and the Aerodrome Safety inspector shall draw upon their own practical experience and knowledge, and if necessary, may consult any specialist (internally and externally) required to establish an equivalent level of safety for the kind of operation being sought.
  2. In conjunction with the air operator, the CBA and Aerodrome Safety inspectors shall review the request, and develop an inspection plan. The inspection plan shall include the dates when the on-site inspection, operational evaluation, and technical analysis (aerodrome) will take place. In addition, a study shall be conducted on aviation accidents and incidents relating to the type of aircraft to be used in this type of operation. The objective of this exercise is to determine if any of the accidents/incidents detected were caused by any weaknesses/ malfunctions of the aircraft systems, operating procedures, training, and also if it occurred in an operation similar to the one being assessed.

  3. An on-site inspection shall be conducted and the aerodrome in question shall be evaluated in accordance with the applicable Airport Standards in order to determine its certifiability. This evaluation shall be conducted by the Aerodrome Safety inspector.
  4. If it is determined that it is not possible/practical to certify the aerodrome, then an equivalent level of safety shall be determined by both inspectors by:

    1. observing and conducting an "on the ground" evaluation of the operator's aircraft operations including the approach, landing, manoeuvring on the ground, taking-off, and climbing (departure path) from the aerodrome in question;

    2. if deemed necessary, conducting [CBA inspector] an in-flight evaluation on board the operator's aircraft of the company's current operating procedures, in and out of the aerodrome in question;

    3. conducting [CBA inspector] an operational evaluation of the suitability of each runway, taxiway and apron associated with the:

      • aircraft dimensions (wings, fuselage, and distance between wheels);

      • aircraft weight;

      • aircraft performance (in accordance with the Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM), if applicable);

      • aircraft equipment/systems available (nose wheel steering, gravel kit, types of tires used, reverse thrust capabilities);
      • Short take-off and landing (STOL) characteristics of the aircraft;

      • other factors such as: wind, temperature, atmospheric pressure, air density, and precipitation (i.e.: snow, and rain);

      • current operating procedures established by the air operator;

      • qualification and training of pilots;

    4. conducting [Aerodrome Safety inspector] a technical analysis in accordance with the applicable Airport Standards and listing all improvements to be done by the aerodrome operator. These improvements are to be determined by taking into consideration all factors found during the operational evaluation phase;

    5. approving [CBA inspector] the air aperator's operating procedures and any additional training requirements needed, as determined by the operational evaluation and technical analysis, and if operating into and out of unprepared surfaces, ensure that these procedures and training are in compliance with the standards located in CAR 724.44.
  5. The air operator's Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Company Operations Manual (COM), and Training Program, as applicable, shall be amended to include all established procedures for this operation;

  6. An assessment of the pilots' competency for this operation shall be evaluated during the annual Pilot Proficiency Check (PPC);

  7. A company representative shall be present at the aerodrome for all departures and arrivals of the operator's flights and shall:

    1. provide runway condition and any other necessary information to pilots to ensure a safe operation by the means of two way radio communication and telephone;
    2. ensure that the runway is maintained and clear of any obstructions;
    3. restrict access to the aerodrome by any unauthorized persons;

    4. maintain a journal listing the conditions of the runways at the time of departures and arrivals of the company aircraft.

  8. The aerodrome operator shall carry out any improvements required to maintain the equivalent level of safety as determined in the technical analysis.

  9. Inspections shall be carried out to ensure that the air operator and the aerodrome operator have complied with all conditions listed above.

  10. Once all terms and conditions have been met, the following authorizations shall be issued:

    • Aerodrome Standards shall issue an Aerodrome Authorization specifying the terms and conditions of the authorization to the aerodrome operator; and

    • Commercial and Business Aviation shall issue an amendment to the air operator certificate (AOC), listing the name of the aerodrome and the type and registration (if deemed necessary) of aircraft authorized for this aerodrome.

  11. Once the operator has commenced its operation into and out of the aerodrome, several inspections shall be conducted throughout the year in order to ensure compliance with all listed conditions. If the aerodrome is to be used year-round, inspections shall be conducted during the summer (no snow) and winter (snow) months.

Reference Number

This Policy Letter is designated AARX No. 121/AARM. 

M.R. Preuss

Commercial & Business Aviation

H.J. Layden

Aerodrome Safety

Date modified: