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Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Co-op

Airplane Flights

Airplane Flights

What is happening?

  • The Tuktoyaktuk airport has the highest number of flights among these communities although numbers have fluctuated greatly. The number of flights to Old Crow has been relatively steady over the last ten years and averaged about 1,200 flights per year.
  • Flights to Aklavik peaked during the 1980s and have averaged about 1,700 flights per year during the last decade.
  • The Fort McPherson airstrip has the lowest level of flight activity among these communities although the decrease in landings in the mid-1990s may simply reflect the lack of airport personnel to gather data (see Technical Notes below).

Why is it happening?

  • The peak in aircraft movement at Aklavik during the 1980s and the increase seen in 2001 may be associated with oil and gas exploration activity in the Mackenzie Delta.

Why is it important?

  • Some wildlife are sensitive to aircraft disturbance so monitoring this indicator may help identify concerns if there is an increase in activity.
  • Measurements of aircraft activity related to industrial development or tourism can be used as a measure of human activities in an area.

Technical Notes

  • These data were obtained from a regular Transport Canada summary (Table 15 in TP 577) and represent the total number of aircraft movements.
  • Cut backs in the hours of airport observers in some years affected data collection at some airports. At Fort McPherson, there were only 8 days of data collected in 1997 which, in turn, was also low for the number of aircraft movements (32). The most aircraft movements, in the last decade, were also recorded in the same year that the days of observation were at a peak (265 days). As a result flight movements may be under represented at Fort McPherson.
  • In 2005 most of these airports had fewer days of aiprort observation and this helps explain why the number of flights dropped at all stations.
  • There are no data available for Aklavik in 2010.

Text revised: March 9, 2012     Data added: March 9, 2012