Iqaluit Airport

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Iqaluit Airport
Iqaluit-airport.jpg
IATA: YFBICAO: CYFB
WMO: 71909
Summary
Airport type Public
Owner/Operator Government of Nunavut[1]
Location Iqaluit
Hub for First Air
Time zone EST (UTC−05:00)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−04:00)
Elevation AMSL 110 ft / 34 m
Coordinates 63°45′24″N 068°33′22″W / 63.75667°N 68.55611°W / 63.75667; -68.55611Coordinates: 63°45′24″N 068°33′22″W / 63.75667°N 68.55611°W / 63.75667; -68.55611
Map
CYFB is located in Nunavut
CYFB
CYFB
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
17/35 8,605 2,623 Asphalt
Statistics (2010)
Aircraft movements 20,178
Sources: Canada Flight Supplement[2]
Environment Canada[3]
Movements from Statistics Canada[4]

Iqaluit Airport (IATA: YFBICAO: CYFB) serves Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada and is located adjacent to the town. It is operated by the government of Nunavut. It hosts scheduled passenger service from Ottawa, Montreal, Rankin Inlet and Kuujjuaq on carriers such as First Air and Canadian North, as well as from smaller communities throughout eastern Nunavut. It is also used as a forward operating base by the CF-18 Hornet.

The airport is classified as an airport of entry by NAV CANADA and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency. CBSA officers at this airport currently can handle general aviation aircraft only, with no more than 15 passengers.[2]

The airport serves as a diversion airport on Polar routes.[5][6]

History[edit]

Military use[edit]

Iqaluit Airport was originally founded as Frobisher Bay Air Base in 1942. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s the base was used by the United States and Canada for transportation purposes. The base was closed in 1963 and converted into a civilian airport.

Civilian use[edit]

Since the 1950s, Frobisher Bay had earned a reputation as a technical stop for airlines flying the North Atlantic. Crews departing westward from Prestwick or Shannon in those years preferred to route via Iceland (or the Azores) to Gander, thence to New York City or elsewhere. Weather, however, could dictate a northerly course, which is when Frobisher Bay came into its own. At one time, Pan American even had a base there and on at least two occasions had to change engines on Douglas DC-7Cs at Frobisher Bay.

With the introduction of the intercontinental Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8, fewer airlines stopped at Iqaluit. Even so, there always seemed to be some activity. The place remained prominent as a regional airport, continued in its strategic role of sustaining the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW), supported the occasional military exercise or scientific expedition, and was still a key stopover on the North Atlantic ferry route.

Through the 1960s, Nordair was the main airline serving Frobisher Bay from Montreal, 1,100 nautical miles (2,000 km; 1,300 mi) to the south. Douglas DC-4s operated into the 1970s and Lockheed Super Constellations between 1964 and 1969. In 1968 Nordair introduced the Boeing 737-200 on the Frobisher Bay run. At the same time, Bradley Air Services had been expanding. By the 1970s, the company's fleet of de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters and Douglas DC-3s was servicing many small Arctic communities from YFB, carrying passengers, mail, groceries, and other essentials. Bradley became known as First Air in 1973 and soon added BAe 748s.

In the 1980s, Canada's airline industry was in transition, with Air Canada and Canadian Airlines rapidly buying up regional operators. Air Canada acquired Nordair in 1977, and then sold it in 1984 to Canadian Airlines. Jet service to Iqaluit Airport continued, but under the Canadian North banner, which was, after the buyout of Canadian Airlines by Air Canada, to continue operations as an independent airline, jointly owned by the Inuit of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Between 1985 and 1988 First Air added four Boeing 727s to link Montreal and Ottawa with Iqaluit. Meanwhile Canadian Airlines failed, and was taken over by Air Canada in 2000. In 1995 First Air purchased the small Yellowknife-based carrier Ptarmigan Airways; then, in 1997, Northwest Territorial Airways (NWT Air), Air Canada's Yellowknife subsidiary. In the NWT Air move First Air acquired: two 737-200 Combis and a Lockheed 382 Hercules.[7]

Facilities[edit]

  • 2 hangar/cargo terminals (First Air/Canadian North)
  • 1 two storey terminal building
  • 1 main runway
  • three aprons
  • 1 FBO (Frobisher Bay Touchdown Services)

The main terminal has:

  • Check-in desks
  • 3 gates
  • 1 baggage claim belt
  • Gift Shop
  • Travel Agent
  • Tourist Help Desk
  • Car Rental
  • Taxi Service/Rank
  • Baby/Parent Room
  • Disabled Access/Facilities

There are 30 short term parking spaces at the airport.

Future development[edit]

As a result of increased traffic, Nunavut government is planning an overhaul of the airport which is expected to cost between $250 and $300 million. The project will be a public–private partnership with the GN borrowing their half of the cost. The, as yet unnamed, construction company will also operate the airport for 30 years. Upgrades will include building a new terminal, retrofitting the current terminal, expanding parking lots, a second taxiway and apron and repaving the runway. The construction is expected to begin in 2014 and completed by 2017.[8][9]

Other information[edit]

Multiple flights have been diverted to Iqaluit Airport due to passenger medical emergencies. On 31 May 1996, Virgin Atlantic flight 7 from London to Los Angeles made an emergency landing at Iqaluit after a passenger had a heart attack. The landing was executed safely - the first Boeing 747 ever to attempt to land at Iqaluit - but one of the 747's engines hit a fuel pump on the tarmac as it was taxiing, causing serious damage to the aircraft and a potentially dangerous fuel spill. The 397 stranded passengers, including singer Gary Barlow, were flown out after Virgin Atlantic chartered two jets. The passengers, after spending 16 hours in a local curling rink, were taken to New York to catch connecting flights to Los Angeles. Prince Michael of Kent, who had also been on the flight, was given a Royal Canadian Mounted Police escort and departed on an earlier scheduled flight. The original aircraft had its engines repaired and left four days after the accident. The heart-attack victim survived.[10]

There is a persistent but false rumour that Iqaluit Airport is one of the emergency landing sites for NASA's Space Shuttle, due to the length of its runway and its geographic location.[11] This can easily be disproved by noting that Iqaluit's runway is less than 9,000 ft (2,743 m) long.

Airbus A380 at Iqaluit

The Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger jet, conducted cold weather testing from Iqaluit Airport during February 2006 - its first North American visit. They were hoping to experience −25 °C (−13 °F) weather to determine the effects on cabin temperatures and engine performance. Nunavut authorities hope that the importance of these tests will put Iqaluit on the map as a centre for cold-weather testing.[12] In February 2013, Airbus Military used the airport to test the Airbus A400M Atlas military transport aircraft that is currently being developed.[13] The city government send a delegation to Paris Airshow in June 2013 to promote Iqaluit as an ideal location for these tests. Airbus A350 followed suit and conducted its cold weather testing in January 2014. Airport staff cited low landing fee, sufficient runway length, and minimal air traffic movement all helped in the decision making.[14]

In December 2005 the Government of Nunavut announced that they would spend $40 million to repair the runway, build a new emergency services facility and a new terminal.[15]

In January 2012 Air Greenland announced that a 1-hour, 45-minute flight from Nuuk to Iqaluit, down from three days when going via Copenhagen or Reykjavik and then on to Ottawa, would begin 18 June 2012, later changed to 15 June. The service will be in partnership with First Air who will provide ticketing and other services in Iqaluit. This is the first international flight into Iqaluit since 2001 when First Air discontinued their Iqaluit to Kangerlussuaq flights. Air Greenland have stated they will be using Dash 8 aircraft on the run and a one way flight is expected to cost about $748 or kr 4.300.[16][17][18][19]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Air Greenland Seasonal: Nuuk
Canadian North Cape Dorset, Clyde River, Hall Beach, Igloolik, Ottawa, Pangnirtung, Pond Inlet, Qikiqtarjuaq, Rankin Inlet, Yellowknife[20]
Seasonal: Halifax
Exploits Valley Air Services Gander, Happy Valley-Goose Bay[21]
First Air Arctic Bay, Cape Dorset, Clyde River, Hall Beach, Igloolik, Kimmirut, Kuujjuaq, Montreal-Trudeau, Ottawa, Pangnirtung, Pond Inlet, Qikiqtarjuaq, Rankin Inlet, Resolute, Yellowknife
Seasonal: Winnipeg
Nolinor Aviation Charter: Kitchener-Waterloo, Mary River

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 14 August 1996, a Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornet left the runway during takeoff, slid down an embankment and ruptured a fuel pipeline. The aircraft caught fire, as did fuel spilling from the pipeline, however the pilot had ejected just as the plane left the runway and suffered a broken ankle. The pipeline was shut down and the fire brought under control in less than an hour.[23]
  • Over the years multiple flights have been diverted to Iqaluit due to on-board medical emergencies with no deaths being reported.

References[edit]

External links[edit]