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Iqaluit International: First Arctic Airport P3

Location: Nunavut

Status: Operational since 2017 

Type of P3: Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain

Value of Partnership: $418.9 million

The Iqaluit International Airport is the major gateway to Nunavut, a unique geographical area without roads connecting many of its communities. The lack of ground transportation makes airport infrastructure critical to the community’s livelihood.

The existing airport, which last received major funding in the late 1990s, needed significant investment to support Nunavut’s growing population. Upgrades were also required to meet the demand for air transportation from industries such as the mining sector, and to ensure the airport’s continued ability to operate safely and efficiently.

In September 2012, PPP Canada announced it would support the project with $77.3 million in funding.


  • Building a complicated, large-scale project under difficult northern climate conditions
  • Building the necessary capacity in the local economy while complying with the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement (NLCA)


  • The private partner, Air Infrastructure Partners (AIP), had to operate and maintain the existing airport during construction of the new airport and for 30 years after construction is finished.
  • The Government of Nunavut will own the airport during the entire period
  • The Project Agreement had significant requirements for the involvement of the NLCA Beneficiaries requiring AIP to provide a diverse range of training opportunities to local Inuit community members


  • The project includes a new airport terminal building, expanded aprons for planes to park, new lighting systems, an upgraded runway, and a new combined services building to house fire-fighting vehicles, support equipment and heavy equipment that maintains the runways
  • The new terminal’s leading-edge design references the Arctic environment while reflecting the community’s values and culture
  • The project resulted in improved convenience and safety, make operations more efficient and reliable, and make future airport expansions easier
  • Benefits of the new Air Terminal Building’s design include:
    • Elimination of the need for buses shuttling passengers to and from airplanes
    • Multiple security stations to reduce wait times
    • Central concourse with a variety of spaces for displaying Inuit art
    • An Elders’ Lounge; anda rotunda that can be used for public gatherings and events
    • New foundation system to prevent cracks that are typically seen in the buildings in permafrost areas, and 
    • Access to refreshments and washrooms, post-security
  • The project provides significant employment opportunities as well as training and development opportunities including the opportunity to earn academic credentials for NCLA Beneficiaries — who have to make up 20 per cent of the labour force increasing to 60 per cent of the labour force by the end of the Project Agreement, thereby adhering to conditions set out in the NCLA.
  • The project facilitates improved accessibility to Nunavut, which will encourage private investment in the region
  • A combined heat and power plant that burns fuel to create electricity and then uses the byproduct for heat will allow the airport to generate its own electricity efficiently
The Iqaluit International Airport Improvement Project will improve a vital link between communities, benefit travelers to and from Nunavut for business, personal travel, and tourism. Nunavummiut will directly and indirectly enjoy social and economic benefits as the Project supports the community’s efforts to build a sustainable and prosperous future for the region.
Honourable Peter Taptuna, Premier of Nunavut