The airport in Nain has been on the federal governments radar for at least a few years.
The lack of lighting on the runway means a shorter window for planes to land in the small northern community. Recently its proximity to the water raised concerns as well.
In an interview with The Labradorian last year, Labrador MP Yvonne Jones said there was a study being done on the infrastructure at the airport to see what the best path forward would be.
That study is complete and Jones said it showed the current infrastructure will not be feasible to use in the future.
“There would have to be an alternate airport,” she said. “The next phase will be to fund a more comprehensive study that looks at site location and the engineering side of what a new facility, a new airport, will look like, where it should be located and so on and so forth.”
Jones said the federal government is working with the Nunatsiavut Government to secure the funding needed to do the next phase of the study. This phase, which would include such things as wind studies and geotechnical work, could take up to two years to complete and some of the work can’t be started until after winter.
In the meantime, Jones said the current airport will need some upgrades. She said right now the provincial government is assessing what those upgrades will be. Until the federal government gets that report, Jones doesn’t know what those upgrades will be or how much it will cost.
She stressed the current airport is still safe but this is to get ahead of something happening that could deem the airport not useable.
“We’re going to be looking at that over the winter with both Nunatsiavut and the provincial government and it’s our objective at the end of the day that whatever work needs to be done on that airport, we will make every effort to get it done, so that we can continue to enjoy using that service until we’re able to look at a new airport and where that will be located,” the MP said.
The costs of doing work in the north are substantial, Jones said. Any work in northern Canada is two to three times the cost of doing it in the south and can take twice as long.
“When you look at those factors we have to make sure we’re planning for the long term, not just the short term and in the case of the Nain airport we’ll be planning for both,” she said.