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Helping to connect and protect our north

CF-18 fighter jets from the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) forward operating base located near Iqaluit International Airport (‘CYFB’) were recently put on alert in response to the recent mystery balloons and unidentified objects that entered North American airspace.

While the threat has since subsided, the need to ensure that this strategically important airport is kept in top shape is a responsibility that Concert Infrastructure has taken very seriously since signing a 30-year agreement with the Government of Nunavut in 2017. Concert Infrastructure (through its partner Winnipeg Airports Authority) is responsible for all airport operations including the safety and security of the terminal and airside flight operations.

The airport is a critical part of Nunavut’s regional transportation network, receiving daily food and important medical and industrial supply deliveries as well as providing connecting flights across Nunavut and northern Canada. It is also a key refueling location for both domestic and international flights.

In fact, the airport was built over 80 years ago during World War Two for that reason. During the “Battle of the Atlantic”, U-boats were too easily sinking supply ships bound for England, and the ability to allow supply planes to refuel at Iqaluit (and other northern airports) and reach Europe helped turn the tide of the war.

The airport has continued to play a significant role in supporting military operations in the Arctic region. The RCAF and United States Air Force often conduct joint North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) training exercises, and Canada’s newly acquired F-35 fighter jets will soon join the squadron, requiring further upgrades to the facilities at CYFB to protect our northern border.

The Iqaluit airport is the first airport infrastructure project in North America to use a public-private partnership (P3) model, with the contract delineating specific levels of service being met, with all parts of the airport infrastructure replaced on an ongoing basis to ensure the airport is returned to the Government of Nunavut like new at the end of the contract term.

It's a smart way to ensure this strategic northern gateway can continue to serve as a key social and economic link and ensure the protection of Canada’s northern coastal region for future generations, and solidify Concert Infrastructure as a trusted long-term community development partner.

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Photos courtesy of Nunavut Airport Services Ltd.