Transport Canada gives $19M for airport upgrades in Northwest Territories

A plane at the Fort Smith Airport in January. Transport Canada is providing more than $15 million for work at that facility, with additional money for the Fort Simpson and Yellowknife airports. (Anna Desmarais/CBC)

The federal government is putting more than $19 million toward upgrade work at three airports in the N.W.T.

A Wednesday news release from Transport Canada says the money is from the federal government’s Airports Capital Assistance Program.

The bulk of the $19 million will go toward work at the Fort Smith airport, with smaller amounts going to the Fort Simpson and Yellowknife airports.

In a written statement, N.W.T. MP Michael McLeod said local airports are “key connectors for business, health care, social services, and emerging resource development sectors.”

He said airport improvements are especially important as economies emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The money will be spent as follows:

  • $15,010,087 for “overlays of airside surfaces” in Fort Smith.
  • $2,762,272 for work on the airfield electrical system in Fort Simpson.
  • $2,044,920 for work on airfield drainage in Yellowknife.
 Airports “critical” to region: minister

The Airports Capital Assistance Program was first launched by the federal government in 1995. Last fall’s fiscal update included an additional $186 million for the program, aimed at helping small and regional airports across the country.

In a written statement on Wednesday, N.W.T. Infrastructure Minster Diane Archie said the territory’s community airports are “critical” to the social and economic well-being of residents.

“The role airports play in the day-to-day lives of Northerners has been made more apparent through COVID and the recent flooding in the N.W.T.,” the statement reads.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Quebec-based Air Inuit announces new CEO, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finnair to end flights to five regional airports, including to Kemi, Lapland, Yle News

GreenlandAir links between Canada, Alaska, Greenland & Siberia could be building blocks for economic development says Quebec Inuit leader, Eye on the Arctic

Russia: Modernizing Arctic aviation infrastructure among recommendations at Russian meeting, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Northern Swedish airports get compensation for fall in travellers linked to climate change, Radio Sweden

United States: Airline shutdown creates new challenges for rural Alaska, The Associated Press

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