Iqaluit airport's runway gets a facelift as construction completed

After a month of construction that included cargo delays, inconveniences, and the windows blown from a passenger van, construction on the Iqaluit airport's runway has been completed.

Month-long resurfacing caused cargo delays, surcharges, incident with passenger van

John Hawkins, the manager of Iqaluit's airport, shows off the area where the apron is being extended. The apron extension is the next step in the revitalization of the capital's airport after the newly-resurfaced runway opened yesterday. (Kieran Oudshoorn/CBC)

After a month of construction that included cargo delays, inconveniences, and the windows blown from a passenger van, construction on the Iqaluit airport's runway has been completed.

The runway re-opened yesterday at full capacity, featuring a newly-redone surface, and all cracks and fissures on the runway have been fixed.

"We have gone through the most complicated project that has ever been undertaken around here and it's gone off like clockwork," said John Hawkins, the airport's manager. "It's really gone well. We are on time and on budget. It can't get any better than that with a project."

The re-opening of the full runway means Boeing 767 cargo planes – which brought food and other supplies to Iqaluit five times a week – can now land again. During the construction First Air relied instead on a Boeing 757 aircraft with a smaller cargo capacity.

The runway reconstruction is part of a larger $300 million project to revitalize the airport, which will include a new terminal, taxiways and runway lights. According to Hawkins, all the infrastructure included in the project will not need to be replaced for another 30 years.

"This runway hasn't been re-paved since 1993," said Hawkins. "That's 22 years now. That's a little bit beyond the normal life cycle of pavement."

The next step for the airport's revitalization is the extension of the apron, where aircraft are parked, refueled, and boarded. If everything stays on schedule, Hawkins says the entire project should be completed by the end of 2017.

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