The federal government is chipping in $77M toward the project cost that could exceed $300M. The model chosen for the development is a public-private partnership (PPP).
The Iqaluit International Airport Improvement project includes a new airport building; expanded aprons for planes to park; new lighting systems; an upgraded runway; and a new combined services building that will house the fire-fighting vehicles, support equipment and the heavy equipment that maintain the runways. The project will mean significant job creation, direct and indirect, as well as training and economic development opportunities for Iqaluit and Nunavut as a whole. A private partner will be chosen by the Government of Nunavut through a competitive selection process to design, build, finance, operate and maintaining the publicly owned airport for a total concession period of 30 years.
Construction is slated to start in 2014. The new airport is set to open by the end of 2017. The new airport will feature an additional taxiway and apron for airplanes to park, load, and be gassed up. Thawing permafrost is a growing problem for the Iqaluit airport, especially as the airport is about to undergo major renovations.
The PPP model offers cash-strapped governments a means to build infra-structure without having to finance the cost up front. The project could be a win-win proposition but much depends on the success of the construction phase (ie.meeting budget) and the particulars of the agreements. If permafrost damages the runway 5 years from now who pays ?