APTN National News
In a territory where every community is a fly-in-community, the new airport in Iqaluit is a big deal for everyone in Nunavut.
And just about every flight on Baffin Island begins and ends at the Iqaluit airport.
The $300 million project took two years to complete, but the terminal is now open for business.
“There’s more, a lot of people,” said Julius Kunuk who is from Igloolik. “It’s a lot bigger than the old one.”
The United States Airforce built the airport in 1942. It closed as a base in 1963 and became a civilian airport.
For years its signature was it’s orange/yellow paint scheme.
But travellers for years have complained of having an outdated facility with little to offer in the way of comforts as people made their way home to Nunavut or to southern destinations.
Now Iqaluit’s new airport is pretty standard when it comes to facilities in the south.
There’s room to walk, pick up your luggage, and breathe.
For Nunavut, this sort of normal is – exceptional.
“It’s like, you can breathe, there’s fresh air,” said Iqaluit’s Beatrice Ikkikluak. “And there’s a space, and you can walk, and not bump into anyone, and not trip over anyone. It’s good.
It may look like a southern airport, but the new facility is uniquely Inuit as well.
“The uniqueness comes from the space, and the art itself,” said Nancy Aniliak who is from Pangnirtung. “I really like that part.”
Wednesday was what officials are calling a soft opening – no ribbon cutting, no grand display, just open doors and planes coming and going.
But it was exceptional for Iqaluit residents who now have something that has a closer standard to travellers in the south.
Southern quality – with Inuit style.
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