As seaplane traffic grows, Transport Canada is looking for input on plans to better regulate the country’s water airports, many of them on Vancouver Island.
The agency estimates as many as 500,000 passengers travel by scheduled seaplane flights in Canada each year and that number is expected to grow.
It is proposing an amendment to the Canadian Aviation Regulations to establish guidelines for the operation and certification.
“This amendment will ensure that water airports operate at an equivalent level of safety to land airports and heliports,” a notice reads.
Transport Canada says there are currently 48 water aerodromes within built-up areas of a city or a town and/or have scheduled passenger service.
The new rules would either apply to all of them, or to the 23 that receive more than 14 scheduled passenger movements per day and/or any aircraft with a seating configuration, excluding pilot seats, of nine or more for scheduled passengers service.
“Seaplane traffic that is anticipated to keep growing; the increased traffic also increases the likelihood of an accident or incident at a water aerodrome.” a notice reads.
“The amendment is required to ensure the safety of passengers, flight crews and those working at water aerodromes across Canada.”
Of the 48 listed water airports, only six are certified, including Victoria Harbour.
Several others on Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands are not, but all that operate scheduled air services are authorized to do so in their air operator certificate by Transport Canada.
Ottawa is requesting that feedback on the proposed amendment and options being considered be sent in before August 22, 2019.
Victoria council will discuss the issue at Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, and direct City staff to submit a response to the federal government.