Vancouver International Airport South Airfield Low-Visibility Upgrade

Vancouver Airport Authority | Canada | 2009-2012

Approx. 15-20 foggy days per year

Approx. 700 take-offs and landings everyday

Project completed ahead of schedule and under budget


  • Transport Canada mandated that the Vancouver International Airport bring the south airfield to full CAT IIIA low-visibility compliance by December 2011, as stipulated in the Transport Canada document TP-312E for Aerodromes Standards and Recommended Practices.
  • Adding low-visibility insert lighting for the runway, the taxiways, and associated apron, as well as illuminated stopbars at taxi-holding locations.
  • Main elements to completing this project included pullpits, bi-directional and uni-directional inset lights, elevated lights, electrical ducting, electrical manholes, and a complex upgrade to the computerized airfield lighting control system.
  • Construction occurred within a busy airport environment, and maintaining the functionality of the existing lighting system made the project very complex.
  • Careful construction staging was essential to ensuring worker safety, minimizing aircraft delays, and meeting the tight completion deadline.


  • Plan, design, and provide construction services for the low-visibility upgrades at the Vancouver International Airport.
  • During the design and tender phases, detailed design drawings, specifications, and cost estimates were prepared and submitted at the 75%, 90%, and Tender & Construction levels.
  • Provided full-time site inspections and project management during the construction phase.


  • Seamlessly integrating new technologies with existing systems within a highly restrictive and challenging operating environment.
  • The airport, airlines, and users benefit from reduced flight delays, diversions, and cancellations, which translates into tangible savings for the airport by enhancing airfield safety and minimizing loss of revenue to all.
  • The electrical design had to promote sustainability in support of the Vancouver Airport Authority's normal and low-visibility operational priorities.
  • The lighting upgrade has provided good value by significantly contributing to increased airport efficiency, dependability, sustainability, and safety.
  • The project benefits the community as well, by reducing aircraft wait times, reducing flight diversions, and providing additional safety to the travelling public.

Project numbers

500 inset lights at 20 locations.
500 inset taxiway centerline lights over a linear distance of 4,365 meters.
190 inset apron centerline lights.
170 new and relocated taxiway edge lights.

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