Trout Lake, N.W.T., opens new airport runway

A new airport runway, nearly 300 metres longer than the old one, opened Thursday in Trout Lake, N.W.T.

Pressurized mevedac flights can now land in community, says GNWT

A new airport runway nearly 300 metres longer than the old one opened Thursday in Trout Lake, N.W.T. (GNWT Department of Transportation)

A new, longer airport runway opened Thursday in Trout Lake, N.W.T., allowing for more types of planes to land in the community.

At a little more than a kilometre long, the $11.2-million runway is nearly 300 metres longer than the old one, which was built in 1987.

New types of planes, including medevac planes with pressurized cabins, can now land in the community of under 100 people.

"With a pressurized flight, a patient can be kept more comfortable in their period of distress," says Delia Chesworth, director of airports for the Northwest Territories Government's Department of Transportation.  

Flight traffic in the community is currently restricted to charter companies, but that could change thanks to the new airstrip.

"It could open up scheduled service, but that would be dictated primarily by the industry," says Chesworth. 

Brian Kotchea, who maintains the runway for the Somba K'e Dene Band, says the location of the new runway — two kilometres from the town, as opposed to right beside it — will help cut down on traffic and noise. 

The territorial government covered $6.6 million of the cost, says Chesworth. The federal government supplied the rest. 

This is the second new runway to be built in the N.W.T. in the last five years; the other was in Colville Lake.