Nav Canada will close the tower and contract weather office at Buttonville Airport in Toronto on Jan. 3, 2019 over the objections of local pilots and airport management. The company says it has studied the traffic situation at Buttonville extensively and consulted with stakeholders and concluded the tower can go without endangering air traffic. “(The study) showed that air traffic control service was no longer required for safe operations and closing the tower would not negatively impact the safety of aircraft operations,” Nav Canada spokesman Jonathan Bagg told CTV News.
Without ATC, pilots will maintain separation from each other on a mandatory frequency and some argue it’s not an ideal situation given the nature of the airspace. Buttonville is close to Pearson International and traffic to the small field operate under the floor of heavily used controlled airspace for Pearson traffic. Buttonville Airport Manager Rob Seaman said the facility operates in some of the most congested airspace in North America and that should have weighed heavily on the deliberations. “In our conversations with Nav Canada, they have compared us with Mirabel, Red Deer, Kelowna. Those are all airports that are in the middle of nowhere.”