Land use - airports

Last updated on January 31, 2024

The Airport Program provides Crown land for public or private airport facilities and associated services, which are neither owned nor operated by Transport Canada.

On this page

Airport facilities authorized under this program range from remote airstrips with minimal improvements used for private aviation activities to larger airport facilities in developed areas used primarily for commercial aviation activities for which a Transport Canada airport certificate has been issued.

Application documents

In addition to reading the information on this webpage, the following documents should be reviewed prior to submitting your application:

The following documents must be completed prior to submitting your application:

Who may apply?

Applicant eligibility varies for public and private airport facilities.

Applicants for Private Airport Facilities must be:

  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents 19 years of age or older
  • Corporations which are incorporated or registered in B.C.
  • Registered partnerships, cooperatives, and non-profit societies which are formed under the relevant provincial statutes
  • First Nations through band corporations or Indian Band and Tribal Councils
  • In the case of aquatic land, non-Canadians can apply provided the applicant owns the adjacent upland

Applicants for Public Airport Facilities must be:

  • A municipal or regional government
  • An airport society

Airports ancillary to another airport facility

When an airport facility is ancillary to another Crown land use (for example, an adventure tourism operation or road/utility construction projects) a separate application may not be required.

When An Application is Required

Airport facilities ancillary to another Crown land use require a separate application when the airport facility is located outside of the primary tenure area. 

Where the airport facility is within the primary tenure area, a separate application may not be required. The Authorizing Agency determines if a separate application is required. They give consideration to relevant factors, which may include, but are not limited to:​

  • Frequency/seasonality of use
  • Level of construction
  • Permanency of improvements

Where it is determined by the Authorizing Agency that a separate application for an airport facility is not required, the airport facility must be identified and evaluated as part of the application and management plan for the primary land use.

Types of tenures

Depending on the applicant, intended use, and the required tenure term, a Sponsored Crown grant, lease, licence or temporary licence may be issued by the Province.

  • A temporary licence is usually issued for the temporary occupation of Crown land for the construction of a public or private airport facility
  • A licence of occupation is available to individuals or corporations for private airport purposes
  • A lease is available to airport societies for public airport purposes where long term tenure is required, substantial improvements are proposed, and/or where definite boundaries are required in order to avoid conflicts
  • A Sponsored Crown Grant (SCGs) is available to municipal or regional governments for public airport and ancillary purposes. For more information on SCGs see the Community and Institutional Land Use policy (PDF, 224KB)

Fees and costs

Applicants will be required to pay an application fee when an application is submitted, as identified in the Crown land fees schedule (PDF, 49KB)

The following are the various fees and rents for airport tenures:

  • Temporary licences are charged application fees only
  • The rental for a licence of occupation is paid annually as the greater of: $500 per licence; or, $5 per hectare of Crown land within the licence area
  • A lease is issued to airport societies for the nominal rent of $1.00, prepaid for the term of the tenure

More details are available in the Airport Policy (PDF, 216KB)

Special requirements

All applications must be supported by a management plan that provides an outline of proposed development.

The tenure holder will be required to meet all applicable regulations imposed by government agencies, whether federal, provincial or local. For example, the federal Canadian Aviation Regulations.

Where the proposed airport is within a local government boundary, an application by an airport society must be accompanied by a written statement from the relevant local government board or council indicating their support of the proposed airport use and that the local government is not willing to request and administer a sponsored crown grant for airport purposes.

Applicants for private airport licences may be required to post a performance bond to ensure cleanup of the site if required in the future. 

The most common reason for delay in processing is submission of an incomplete application, which is then returned to the applicant.

If your application is accepted, you will be notified if Advertising is required. Please wait for confirmation before advertising.

If you have questions regarding any aspect of the application process, a specific file or a proposal for a specific area, please contact FrontCounter BC.

Contact information

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