Ottawa committed to spending $150 million over five years to extend the Inuvik Airport runway by 3000 feet and and to install landing improvements, it announced Wednesday.

Harjit Sajjan, minister of national defense, and MP Michael McLeod made the announcement in Yellowknife, saying that the funding will allow the airport to support more military aircraft. The airport current acts as an operating base for the air force.

“This airport is a gateway to the Canadian Armed Forces,”  Sajjan told reporters.

“It is our forward operation location for Canada and NORAD’s location in the north. This is a major responsibility and we take it very seriously.”

Sajjan said the upgrades will allow for enhanced search and rescue across the arctic region and better equip military aircraft such as the future fighting fleet, once it is completed, to send a strong message and protect Canada’s sovereignty.

McLeod emphasized the project’s contribution to the local economy through jobs and potential benefits to local travelers.

The project isn’t to be tendered until 2020, and is still in early planning stages, but is expected to be complete by 2026.

—With Brett McGarry

Nick Pearce

Nick Pearce is a writer and reporter in Yellowknife, looking for unique stories on the environment and people that make up the North. He's a graduate of Queen's University, where he studied Global Development...

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