Vancouver Airport Authority recently renumbered its crosswind runway from 12-30 to 13-31 to align itself with the shifting magnetic north pole.
The magnetic north pole is the point on the surface of Earth’s northern hemisphere at which the planet’s magnetic field points vertically downwards.
The runways at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and other airports are numbered to the nearest 10 degrees according to its magnetic heading.
Overtime, magnetic changes in the Earth’s core shifts the magnetic north pole and as a result, every 60 or 70 years, the runways are renumbered to meet Transport Canada and industry regulations.
YVR’s crosswind runway has been numbered 12-30 since it was first built. Landing and take-offs are preferred on the crosswind runway when winds are blown from the north or south directions.
The magnetic heading for YVR’s crosswind runway is now 125°01’/305°01’, which means the runway is now closer to 130º/310º than 120º/300º, necessitating the change to 13-31.
The change from 12-30 to 13-31 required a large amount of coordination and teamwork from Vancouver Airport Authority employees and its partners, since maps, signs, publications and runway paint also had to be changed to reflect the new number.
For more information about the runway’s renumbering, please visit yvr.ca.