TC Action May Affect Some GPS Approaches

Instrument approach minima at dozens of small airports may be increased to 500 feet as Transport Canada begins mandating that all such approaches meet ICAO standards for obstacles. TC has issued an advisory circular outlining the requirements. In the last decade, hundreds of airports have published GPS approaches that allow greater access in challenging weather. Some have minimum descent altitudes as low as 250 ft AGL. TC is now insisting that non-certified airports with instrument approaches send them an attestation that the approaches meet ICAO standards and that could be pricey for some.

Many of those approaches do not meet international standards because there are powerlines, buildings or other tall structures within the safety envelope established by ICAO. To keep their current minima published, the airports that don’t meet the ICAO standards will have to have the obstacles moved or removed, which could cost millions of dollars in some circumstances. The action has prompted Alberta pilot Drew Watson to launch an online petition against the process, which he says is unnecessary and threatens the viability of some airports.