Nunavut to increase community airport security
Plans come after break-ins, vandalism at several airports
The Government of Nunavut says changes are in the works to keep planes safe at community airports, following a recent break-in and vandalism of a Canadian North Dash 8 plane in Pond Inlet, Nunavut.
Canadian North had to cancel its scheduled flight from Pond Inlet to Iqaluit on April 5, the day after the vandalism.
A 31-year-old man now faces several charges following that incident, including break and enter and mischief causing damage. He will appear in court next month.
But the problem isn't new; last year, someone took a shovel to a Canadian North plane, causing $250,000 in damage.
Airline and government officials are baffled by the crimes, but say enough is enough.
"Our thoughts are that the more people are aware of the seriousness and the nature of the vandalism, the more vigilant everyone will be," said Shawn Maley, the director of airports for the Government of Nunavut.
"And that's how we'll get success here — we'll have a change in attitude and awareness and all parties in the community working together to resolve these kind of issues."
The airline said similar incidents have happened in Igloolik and Cape Dorset — both small airports with limited fencing and monitoring.
Maley said they are working to install cameras and alarm systems at those airports later this spring, and they are also talking about hiring overnight guards.
The extra security will all come at a high price. The government hopes the airlines will help out, but it might be a tough sell.
"In other airports, we don't provide our own security anywhere else. It's the responsibility of the airport owner or operator, in my opinion, to make the aircraft secure," said Tracy Medve, president of Canadian North.
Maley said the government will meet this week with airlines to talk about how to keep planes secure in communities.