|IATA: YFB – ICAO: CYFB|
|Owner/Operator||Government of Nunavut|
|Hub for||First Air|
|Elevation AMSL||110 ft / 34 m|
Sources: Canada Flight Supplement
Statistics from Transport Canada.
Iqaluit Airport (IATA: YFB, ICAO: CYFB) serves Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada and is located adjacent to the town. It is operated by the government of Nunavut. It hosts scheduled passenger service from Ottawa, Montreal, Rankin Inlet and Kuujjuaq on carriers such as First Air and Canadian North, as well as from smaller communities throughout eastern Nunavut. It is also used as a forward operating base by the CF-18 Hornet.
The airport is classified as an airport of entry by NAV CANADA and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency. CBSA officers at this airport currently can handle general aviation aircraft only, with no more than 15 passengers.
Iqaluit Airport was originally founded as Frobisher Bay Air Force Base throughout the 1940s and 1950s; the base was used by the United States and Canada for transportation purposes. The base was closed in 1963 and converted into a civilian airport.
Since the 1950s, Frobisher Bay had earned a reputation as a technical stop for airlines flying the North Atlantic. Crews departing westward from Prestwick or Shannon in those years preferred to route via Iceland (or the Azores) to Gander, thence to New York City or elsewhere. Weather, however, could dictate a northerly course, which is when Frobisher Bay came into its own. At one time, Pan American even had a base there and on at least two occasions had to change engines on Douglas DC-7Cs at Frobisher Bay.
With the introduction of the intercontinental Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8, fewer airlines stopped at Iqaluit. Even so, there always seemed to be some activity. The place remained prominent as a regional airport, continued in its strategic role of sustaining the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW), supported the occasional military exercise or scientific expedition, and was still a key stopover on the North Atlantic ferry route.
Through the 1960s, Nordair was the main airline serving Frobisher Bay from Montreal, 1,100 NM (2,000 km; 1,300 mi) to the south. Douglas DC-4s operated into the 1970s and Lockheed Super Constellations between 1964 and 1969. In 1968 Nordair introduced the Boeing 737-200 on the Frobisher Bay run. At the same time, Bradley Air Services had been expanding. By the 1970s, the company's fleet of de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters and Douglas DC-3s was servicing many small Arctic communities from YFB, carrying passengers, mail, groceries, and other essentials. Bradley became known as First Air in 1973 and soon added BAe 748s.
In the 1980s, Canada's airline industry was in transition, with Air Canada and Canadian Airlines rapidly buying up regional operators. Air Canada acquired Nordair in 1977, and then sold it in 1984 to Canadian Airlines. Jet service to YFB continued, but under the Canadian North banner, which was, after the buyout of Canadian Airlines by Air Canada, to continue operations as an independent airline, jointly owned by the Inuit of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Between 1985 and 1988 First Air added four Boeing 727s to link Montreal and Ottawa with Iqaluit. Meanwhile Canadian Airlines failed, and was taken over by Air Canada in 2000. In 1995 First Air purchased the small Yellowknife-based carrier Ptarmigan Airways; then, in 1997, Northwest Territorial Airways (NWT Air), Air Canada's Yellowknife subsidiary. In the NWT Air move First Air acquired: two 737-200 Combis and a Lockheed 382 Hercules.
The main terminal has:
There are 30 short term parking spaces at the airport.
On 31 May 1996, Virgin Atlantic flight 7 from London to Los Angeles made an emergency landing at Iqaluit after a passenger had a heart attack. The landing was executed safely - the first Boeing 747 ever to attempt to land at Iqaluit - but one of the 747's engines hit a fuel pump on the tarmac as it was taxiing, causing serious damage to the aircraft and a potentially dangerous fuel spill. The 397 stranded passengers, including singer Gary Barlow, were flown out after Virgin Atlantic chartered two jets. The passengers, after spending 16 hours in a local curling rink, were taken to New York to catch connecting flights to Los Angeles. Prince Michael of Kent, who had also been on the flight, was given a Royal Canadian Mounted Police escort and departed on an earlier scheduled flight. The original aircraft had its engines repaired and left four days after the accident. The heart-attack victim survived.
On 14 August 1996 a Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornet left the runway during takeoff, slid down an embankment and ruptured a fuel pipeline. The aircraft caught fire, as did fuel spilling from the pipeline, however the pilot had ejected just as the plane left the runway and suffered a broken ankle. The pipeline was shut down and the fire brought under control in less than an hour.
There is a persistent but false rumour that Iqaluit Airport is one of the emergency landing sites for NASA's Space Shuttle, due to the length of its runway and its geographic location. This can easily be disproved by noting that Iqaluit's runway is less than 9,000 ft (2,743 m) long.
The Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger jet, conducted cold weather testing from Iqaluit Airport during February 2006 - its first North American visit. They were hoping to experience −25 °C (−13.0 °F) weather to determine the effects on cabin temperatures and engine performance. Nunavut authorities hope that the importance of this test will put Iqaluit on the map as a centre for cold-weather testing.
In December 2005 the Government of Nunavut announced that they would spend $40 million to repair the runway, build a new emergency services facility and a new terminal.
On 30 April 2008 Air Canada Flight 851 from London to Calgary made an unscheduled stop at Iqaluit due to a passenger medical emergency. The passenger and her daughter were safely offloaded but the Airbus A330 was stranded for five hours while extra ground units were sourced to restart the engines. AC851 arrived in Calgary at approximately 0400 on 1 May 2008 after refuelling in Montreal, some twelve hours after scheduled arrival time.
At 3 am on Friday, 15 August 2008, American Airlines Flight 283 from Delhi to Chicago was diverted to Iqaluit Airport due to an onboard medical emergency, with a passenger suffering from acute kidney stones. The passenger was transported to the local medical center, and the plane refueled and then left 2.5 hours later, continuing its journey to Chicago. The flight crew likened taxiing on the populous ramp to driving a Buick on a bumper pool table.
On Sunday, 13 September 2009, Northwest Airlines Flight 33 from Amsterdam to Seattle was diverted to Iqaluit Airport due to an onboard medical emergency. The passenger and companion were transported to the local medical center. The plane refueled and departed about 1.5 hours later, continuing its journey to Seattle.
On Saturday, 12 December 2009 Lufthansa Flight 458 from Munich to San Francisco had to make an involuntary stop at Iqaluit Airport after a passenger had been diagnosed with a stroke by a doctor on board. The Airbus A340-600 was refueled and reached San Francisco with a delay of 2 hours.
The governments of Greenland and Canada are in the process of re-establishing an air service between Nuuk and Iqaluit. This would be the first international service from Nunavut since 2001; however, Air Greenland has delayed the start of service by possibly a year. The air service would help cut travel time down to two hours from the current two days.
|Air Canada Jazz||Montreal-Trudeau [begins March 28], Ottawa [begins March 28]|
|Canadian North||Cape Dorset, Clyde River, Hall Beach, Igloolik, Ottawa, Pangnirtung, Pond Inlet, Qikiqtarjuaq, Rankin Inlet, Yellowknife|
|First Air||Cape Dorset, Clyde River, Hall Beach, Igloolik, Kimmirut, Kuujjuaq, Montreal, Nanisivik, Ottawa, Pangnirtung, Pond Inlet, Qikiqtarjuaq, Rankin Inlet, Resolute, Yellowknife|
|Air Nunavut||charters and MEDEVAC|