Operators with numerous flights that operate in more than one flight information region or internationally may qualify to be assigned a designator and call sign. Designators and call signs are used when an operational need exists as supported by a business case and confirmation from NAV CANADA operations.
During the application process, NAV CANADA verifies the information provided by the applicant and does an initial check to determine whether the requested call sign conflicts with any known call signs. In the event call sign confusion occurs or safety is compromised, NAV CANADA will initiate action. In some cases, operators may need to change their designator / call sign.
In the selection of the flight number the following is recommended:
Flight numbers used by Canadian air operators are not subject to approval. However, for flight planning purposes, the flight identifier, including the designator, must be a minimum of three and a maximum of seven characters.
Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) operations conducted at or below 400ft AGL or involving small RPAs (under 25kg) will not be assigned a designator. Exceptions will apply based on special RPAS operation requests affecting controlled airspace (e.g. RPA operating under an SFOC). Only RPA operations that require air traffic services (ATS) or will communicate with ATS via a means of communication acceptable to NAV CANADA will be considered, provided the aircraft and operator are adequately equipped. In these cases, the need for a designator will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Domestic two-letter designators and call signs are intended for use by Canadian aircraft operators engaged in private or commercial air services (i.e. CAR 604 or Part VII), solely flying in Canadian domestic airspace and which, in the opinion of NAV CANADA, have a need for an exclusive designator.
ICAO three-letter designators and call signs are intended for use by air operators, as well as aeronautical authorities and services that operate aircraft internationally and over the AFTN network. This includes transborder flights with the U.S.
NAV CANADA is designated as the focal point for the assignment of ICAO designators to Canadian aircraft operators. We ask that operators requesting an ICAO designator contact the NAV CANADA focal point first and provide us with a list of suggested call signs so we can check them against all known call signs, both civil and military.
On behalf of ICAO, NAV CANADA ensures due diligence in checking for the validity of the aircraft operator or aeronautical service. This process allows NAV CANADA to have current and accurate information for the operators and services who exercise the privilege of using a unique flight ID and call sign for their operations.
NAV CANADA Customer and Stakeholder Services
151 Slater Street
Ottawa, ON K1P 5H3