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Yellowknife Airport runway lights to receive $3M upgrade

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Yellowknife Airport's runway lights will be improved as part of upgrade work costing almost $3 million.

Yellowknife is the latest of the NWT's airports to receive new, high-intensity LED lighting, which officials say will make the airport safer and save on energy costs.

The federal government is providing $2.5 million to complete the work – which focuses on Runway 16-34, the airport's longest runway – with the territorial government contributing around a further $375,000.

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Improving the airport's runway lighting system was a part of the latest Yellowknife Airport business plan, published a year ago.

The same business case stated the territorial government had been "[making] the case to the federal government for special recognition of the strategic importance of northern aviation infrastructure."

The work is planned to take place over two years.

Replacement of airfield lighting at airports in Tuktoyaktuk and Norman Wells took place in 2017 – a project involving $3 million in federal funding – and Ottawa announced $2 million to upgrade Fort Smith's airport lighting last year.

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The full range of improvements for Yellowknife Airport includes:

  • elevated, high-intensity LED lights at the runway edge and threshold;
  • high-intensity runway approach lights; and
  • runway wind direction indicators.

Diane Lebouthillier, the federal minister of national revenue, announced the investment at Yellowknife Airport on Sunday.

Michael McLeod, the NWT's Liberal MP, said in prepared remarks that the project would "ensure safer and more reliable connectivity for northerners."

In the past, NWT infrastructure Wally Schumann has said installing newer lighting at the territory's airfields would help his government "meet territorial and national commitments to lower energy consumption."