Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut July 24, 2017 - 3:59 pm

Grand opening of new Iqaluit air terminal delayed one month

GN expects operations to start in August

The Government of Nunavut has postponed the grand opening of Iqaluit's big now air terminal to Sept. 13. (FILE PHOTO)
The Government of Nunavut has postponed the grand opening of Iqaluit's big now air terminal to Sept. 13. (FILE PHOTO)

The official opening ceremony of Iqaluit’s new 9,000-square-foot airport terminal will take place a month later than previously announced, with final preparations at the new facility expected to continue into August.

Nunavut’s Department of Community and Government Services confirmed July 21 that the grand opening for the Iqaluit International Airport is currently set for Sept. 13.

The grand opening had originally been set for Aug. 18.

“We are still anticipating commencement of operations out of the new building in August, and plan to issue public service announcements confirming the exact date in early August,” the CGS department’s policy and planning manager, Rosemary Boyd, told Nunatsiaq News, July 21.

“In a project of this complexity, there are still many details to be completed before the new air terminal building opens,” she said.

That includes the setup of security and common use systems, paint touch-ups, cleaning, and the relocation of staff and equipment from the old airport terminal.

The old terminal, built in 1986 and known to some as “the yellow submarine,” will continue to house the airport’s air traffic control centre and navigation equipment.

The unoccupied areas of the old building will be renovated later for an “airport related function” that has yet to be decided, Boyd said.

Workers also removed out-of-service fuel tanks for vehicles located near the old terminal, as part of remediation efforts, CGS said.

But fuel trucks will still transport jet fuel from a storage area near the old site to planes arriving at the new terminal, due to “technical issues” that led to construction delays for a new refueling station.

CGS said the technical issues stem from a “flow rate” at the station that did not meet GN requirements.

Contractors have until Dec. 31, or the end of the project’s construction window, to correct the technical errors without being found in breach of contract, Boyd said.

The added work will be completed at the contractor’s cost and will not add to the facility’s $300-million construction cost.

“Until the issue with the new refueling station is corrected and fully tested, these fuel bowsers [trucks] will be filled from an existing jet fuel delivery cabinet adjacent to Apron III [the old terminal],” Boyd said.

“There will be no impact to aircraft once they are operating from the new air terminal building.”

To build the project, which includes new runway paving and lighting, plus a new combined services building for airport vehicles, the GN opted for a public-private-partnership.

Taking long-term financing costs into account, which include interest payments of 5.09 per cent a year on a $141.98-million bond sale floated by the consortium that built it, the project will cost the GN an estimated $418.9 million over 30 years, GN documents state.

A private entity called Nunavut Airport Services Ltd, a subsidiary of Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc., has been operating the facility since July 21, 2014.

The agenda and attendees for the grand opening ceremony has yet to be finalized, CGS said.

The old opening ceremony date of Aug. 18 was meant to coincide with a pan-Arctic aviation show scheduled to arrive in Iqaluit around that date.

But recently publicized funding woes have grounded that tour. Organizers said they never received federal Canada 150 funding they were expecting to get.

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