The Canadian military is kicking in an additional $80 million for the Mike Zubko Airport runway extension.

NWT MP Michael McLeod made the announcement Jan. 19 in Inuvik. In total, the the federal contribution for the extension is $230 million. Construction is expected to be finished by 2027. The extension will also enable the Canadian Armed Forces to land the recently announced F35 fighter jets the Canadian government is purchasing.

“Not only does funding projects like the Inuvik runway extension ensure our personnel are well prepared to respond to any challenges we may face, it also creates economic opportunities in the region,” said McLeod. “This increased contribution will continue to benefit the regional economy over the next several years.”

Upgrades will expand the runway by 6,000 feet — to a total of 9,000 feet — enabling the airport to host larger military aircraft. It is part of a 2022 plan to modernize the Canadian Forces.

The extension will allow for CF-18 to better serve NORAD operations.

“Like many capital projects in the Northwest Territories and across the country, the Inuvik runway extension has been impacted by inflation and market escalations that have increased project costs beyond the original budget,” said deputy premier Diane Archie. “This funding increase will allow the government of the Northwest Territories to not only support the Beaufort Delta region in the years ahead but will enable us to provide more opportunities for local businesses through construction.”

Mike Zubko airport is owned by the federal government and serves as a Forward Operating Base for the Canadian Forces.

The 3,000 extension will also include modern lights, navigation systems and a military aircraft arrestor system.

Initially expected to cost $150 million, but costs overruns forced the extra investment.

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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