February 27, 2020

Service changes at Montréal-Mirabel Airport: What you need to know.

On January 30, 2020, NAV CANADA reintroduced air traffic control services at Mirabel (CYMX), a burgeoning airport located 45 minutes north-west of Montreal.

In 2008, air traffic control service at Mirabel was replaced by a flight service station. This was in large part due to a significant decrease in traffic levels at the airport over a period of time. The airport opened in 1975 with the intention of being a main airfield for Montreal. After years of low traffic levels, the Mirabel facility was used primarily for cargo and freight.

Recently, traffic volume has increased, becoming more complex, with a mix of cargo airlines and flight school operations. There were more than 69,000 movements at the airport in 2017 and 72,000 movements in 2018.

The increase in traffic prompted a recent aeronautical study, which determined that the level and the mix of traffic warrants the return of air traffic control service at Mirabel during peak hours.


At 6:00 AM (local time) on January 30, an announcement was made over the radio to inaugurate the return of air traffic control services. “A lot of work was completed in the last two years to offer remarkable control service to the Mirabel airport and the control zone users,” the controller announced to pilots. “NAV CANADA’s Mirabel Tower employees are happy and proud to share this new beginning with you.”

Airport staff and stakeholder were invited to the site for an introduction. NAV CANADA Shift Manager Jean-Francois Gauvreau began by explaining the difference between flight advisory services and air traffic control services.

“Flight service specialists provide advisory services – providing the pilots with information such as runway in use, wind, altimeter, and traffic information,” Gauvreau explains. “In class C airspace, or a controller airspace, there’s going to be more directives. Action verbs are going to be used – aircrafts are going to be instructed to climb, to descend, or to turn. Before pilots can enter the zone, pilots would need to have clearance from a controller.”

Following the introduction, guests were offered a tour of Mirabel tower. After climbing a flight of more than 50 steps, guests were lead into the tower cab, which is fitted with leading-edge NAVCANatm air traffic management technology. The tower offers a 360 degree view of the vast airspace around the airport, with clear sightlines of the two 3,658 meter long runways.


Beginning January 30, 2020, airspace classification will change from Class E to Class C Control Zone, 7 NM to 2000 ASL, irregular shape for 16 hours per day from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM. The control zone will revert to Class E, Mode C required when the control tower is closed and airport advisory services are being offered for 8 hours each night from 10:00PM to 6:00AM.

When you arrive or depart from YMX Airport be aware of the type of services being offered at that
time of day and understand your responsibilities. If you are arriving or departing when airport control services are offered, follow the directions of our air traffic controllers, and all related procedures.

At times when airport advisory services are offered understand your responsibilities as a pilot, and use the information provided by the flight service specialist to make safe and responsible decisions in and around the airport.


Weather observation services are provided 24 hours a day. If pilots want a comprehensive weather briefing or to file a flight plan, they can contact the Quebec Flight Information Centre at 1-866-541-4105. Weather information is also available on the Aviation Weather Web Site. Some weather products and NOTAMS are also now available on the NAV CANADA Collaborative Flight Planning Services (CFPS) tool.

For more information, contact with “Mirabel FSS Transition” as the subject header, or call at 1-800-876-4693.

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