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Inuvik airport runway to expand in $150M federal project

A Canadian North aircraft waits at Inuvik's Mike Zubko Airport in April 2018
A Canadian North aircraft waits at Inuvik's Mike Zubko Airport in April 2018. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

Inuvik’s Mike Zubko Airport runway will be extended by 3,000 ft with the help of $150 million in federal dollars announced on Wednesday.

The funding, spread over five years, comes on the heels of $22 million in other upgrades to Inuvik’s runway and taxiways announced in late June. That earlier announcement funds upgrades that aim to preserve permafrost beneath the airport by widening the runway and improving drainage.

Wednesday’s investment will lengthen the runway and modernize lighting, navigational, and military landing systems.

The money is coming from the Department of National Defence on the grounds that Inuvik’s airport provides a key “forward operating location” for the Royal Canadian Air Force. The funding is part of the Canadian government’s push to exercise sovereignty and react to climate change in the Arctic, a federal news release stated.



NWT MP Michael McLeod, left, and Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan announce the upgrades in Yellowknife on Wednesday. Michael McLeod/Twitter

“It is critically important that the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces have the infrastructure they need to train and perform their duties effectively,” Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan stated.

“This is especially true in the Arctic, where we face unique safety and security concerns as a result of climate change.”

Air force and North American Aerospace Defence Command (Norad) operations are launched from Inuvik’s territorially owned airport and its present, 6,000-ft runway.

The project is in the planning stages and will go out to tender next year.