• Noise Questions & Answers


    Why are aircraft flying over my home?

    If you live within the Greater Toronto Area, aircraft flying overhead is a fact of life. Your experience may depend on the weather conditions, runways used, aircraft being used, and your relative distance from the airport.

    How do I register an aircraft noise complaint?

    If you have a complaint regarding aircraft noise, please tell us. Kindly contact the Noise Management Office at (416) 247-7682, or register a noise complaint online.

    How will my complaint be dealt with?

    Toronto Pearson understands that aircraft noise can have an effect on our surrounding communities. Every complaint we receive is:

    • Analyzed
    • Registered
    • Responded to upon request


    We analyze complaints by comparing the date and time of the complaint with our Flight Tracking Systems records and the reports from our Noise Monitoring Systems to determine what may have caused the issue and how Toronto Pearson can learn from this occurrence.

    What noise reduction procedures are in place for arriving and departing aircraft?

    Canada Air Pilot (CAP) publishes noise reduction procedures that must be followed by all flight crews. Toronto Pearson has additional noise reduction procedures for arrivals and departures designed to limit the impact of noise on surrounding communities.


    Arriving jet aircraft must remain at 2,400 feet (732 m) above airport elevation prior to lining up with the extended runway centreline, generally 7 to 10 nautical miles (13 to 18.5 km) from the airport. Pilots must maintain a three-degree angle-of-descent glide slope on final approach to the runway, and minimize the use of reverse thrust after touchdown.


    Departing jet aircraft must throttle back from take-off power to less noisy climb power shortly after take-off, and must follow specified headings or ground tracks to 3,000 feet (914 m) above airport elevation prior to conducting turns en-route to their destination.

    Is Toronto Pearson closed at night?

    Toronto Pearson is open 24/7/365. Our night operations are a mix of cargo and passenger services.

    The airport manages a Night Flight Restriction Program to manage the impact of aircraft noise during restricted hours (12:30-6:30 a.m.). Transport Canada has imposed annual limits on the total number of night flights at Toronto Pearson to ensure that flights during the restricted period remain proportionate to overall traffic levels.

    The GTAA uses a night preferential runway system from midnight to 6:30 a.m. using flight paths that impact the fewest people. The order of priority for preferential runways is: Runway 23, 33R and 24R for departures, and Runway 05, 15L and 06L for arrivals.

    Why is aircraft noise more noticeable some days and not others?

    Look up! Look way up! Atmospheric conditions have a major impact on aircraft noise. The reverberation of sound waves caused by weather may actually make noises seem louder than they actually are. In other words, aircraft flying at altitudes that would normally produce no noise, may actually produce noise. Common factors responsible for this phenomenon include:

    • Temperature variations
    • Wind speed and direction
    • Ambient air temperature
    • Humidity and precipitation
    • Cloud cover and height of cloud cover

    Who controls aircraft movements?

    NAV Canada, who operates Air Traffic Control (ATC), directs aircraft in Canadian airspace safely to their destinations. Consideration is always given to finding flight paths that minimize flying over populated areas.

    What is Rollback Noise?

    Rollback noise refers to engine noise projected to the rear of an aircraft during takeoff. The rumbling sound is loudest when the plane is 45 degrees from the runway centreline. During light wind conditions, rollback noise may project farther from the source than it normally would.


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    • I’m hearing about looking at ideas to improve noise impacts. Can I have more information?

      We recognize that airports have impacts—such as noise on local communities. While airplane noise can’t be eliminated entirely, Toronto Pearson wants to be a good neighbour to the surrounding communities. One way to do this is to lessen the impact of our operations on our neighbours by reducing aircraft noise where possible. Together, NAV CANADA and the GTAA are studying six ideas we think will benefit the surrounding communities as part of the Toronto Noise Mitigation Initiatives Engagement Plan – six ideas with the potential for some noise relief are currently under review. The technical analysis will be completed in 2016. After that, we will conduct public consultation to discuss the results.

    • What is the purpose of the Noise Mitigation Initiatives Engagement Plan?

      The purpose of the Toronto Noise Mitigation Initiatives is to explore some ideas with potential for noise relief for the communities impacted by airport operations.

      The Noise Mitigation Initiatives Engagement Plan outlines how the GTAA and NAV CANADA have and will continue to consult with impacted stakeholders (residents, community groups, elected officials, industry stakeholders).

      The three phases of the engagement are:

      • Phase 1 – Stakeholder Roundtables (Summer 2015)
        This phase is now completed and a summary of reports and feedback are available above.
      • Phase 2 – Technical Study (Fall/Winter 2015-16)
        This phase is ongoing.
      • Phase 3 – Public Consultation (2016)
        This is the next phase; timing to be confirmed.


    • What happened to all the other ideas that were submitted by the community?

      Some of the ideas that were submitted to NAV CANADA and the GTAA are reflected as part of the six ideas.

      We have posted a document in the Presentations, Archives, and Reports section above, which includes a list of ideas that have been submitted. For each idea, details are included as well as an indication as to whether it was included or not, and if not, why.

    • Why submit noise complaints if the flight paths are not going to change as a result of my complaints?

      We take the concerns of all community members affected by our operations seriously. We take a balanced approached when assessing any noise mitigation initiatives.

      The complaints help us understand what impacts our airport operations are having on the community and help us:

      • gauge level of concern over a specific procedure or operation;
      • determine where to focus our community outreach;
      • check that procedures are being followed and there is no deviation from noise abatement procedures;
      • identify trends or irregularities that may need to be investigated or assessed;
      • assess trials;
      • communicate with the community about our operations, provide accurate information (address myths/rumours or inaccurate information);
      • inform elected officials about community concerns; and
      • assess future impacts of our growth.