Primary runway at St. John's airport reopened to full length

Published on December 3, 2015

St. John’s International Airport Authority says it has met its latest construction milestone as part of its three-year Airfield Accessibility and Safety Initiative with the reopening of its primary runway to its full length of 8,500 feet.

The authority said in a news release NAV Canada has completed the installation of the Instrument Landing System equipment, and is in the process of having it certified. "This final phase of the project will be completed prior to the spring, foggy season of 2016."

The primary runway was closed on June 1 to complete the necessary improvements and upgrades to support the installation and operation of Category III Instrument Landing Systems (Cat 3 ILS) by NAV Canada on both ends of the primary runway.

The airport authority said two per cent of all flights were affected due to the unavailability of the primary runway during construction, which is much less than the anticipated five per cent. The majority of those affected flights (80 per cent) occurred during the critical construction phase in July when work was being completed on the intersection of both the primary and secondary runways. The airport authority notes that persistent low visibility weather conditions are atypical for July.

During this construction phase, the primary runway was also repaved. The airport authority says this means extensive construction work on the runway will not be required for at least 15 years.

“We are very pleased to be completed the construction phase of this significantly important project for our city and our province. The extensive improvements that have been made will result in a substantially improved level of service, and the benefits for our airline partners and passengers will be enjoyed for many years to come,” Peter Avery, director of infrastructure and planning with St. John’s International Airport Authority, said in the news release.

“I would like to thank all those who worked on this the project for their professionalism, skill and dedication that ensured it was completed on schedule and on budget, and in a safe manner," Avery added. "This includes our contractors - Pyramid, Tristar, and Black and McDonald; and our engineering consultants — WSP and MHPM. I would also like to acknowledge NAV Canada for their commitment and investment in this project.”

Once CAT 3 ILS are operational, St. John’s International Airport will be the fourth airport in Canada to utilize this technology, and the only airport with less than 10 million passengers annually. This technology will allow aircraft to land and take off in conditions of very low visibility, a weather challenge that has always had an impact on the airport’s operation.

The Airfield Accessibility and Safety Initiative is a $37.3 million project that is cost shared between the Airport Authority, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Government of Canada, through Canada’s Gateways and Border Crossing Fund in support of the Atlantic Gateway and Trade Corridor Strategy.

Further information about the Airfield Accessibility and Safety Initiative can be found on the Airport Authority’s website including a video showcasing the construction on the primary runway, which can be found at