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A stark and frozen climate, a rich heritage, a hectic travel pattern—these elements are authentic to Iqaluit. From them, we were inspired to create a vibrant gathering place for travelers, locals, and businesspeople; the first successful airport P3 project in Canada; and a holistic design true to this northern community.

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Passengers per hour.

Designed to grow with the community, the Iqaluit International Airport can efficiently accommodate up to 220 passengers per hour.

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From entrance to gate

We reduced the average walking distance to 165 metres (500 feet) so passengers can get from the terminal entrance to their gate faster with less congestion.

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Typical wind speeds

The terminal’s aerodynamic shape prevents snow buildup even when the wind’s gusting at up to 130 kilometres per hour (81 miles per hour).

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<p>Most planes load from a passenger boarding bridge. This enclosed, raised walkway takes passengers from a waiting room on the Departures Level, usually on the second floor, to the airplane door,</p> <p>But currently in Iqaluit, most planes are ground loading, meaning passengers walk out onto the tarmac and board by climbing a mobile staircase to the door. So in Iqaluit, traditional airport design would have passengers go up, to go down, whether they were boarding a small propeller aircraft or a large jet.</p> <p>It’s not only inefficient… it’s exhausting, and frequently cold!</p> <p>You’re probably wondering, wouldn’t escalators make this a whole lot easier? You’d be right, but the truth is, escalators just aren’t practical in Iqaluit. Due to its sparse population, escalator parts and the people needed to install them aren’t available locally. If there was a breakdown, everything would have to be flown in, costing time and money for the airport, and frustration for passengers.</p> <p>So we asked ourselves “why go up to go down”?</p> <p>The answer was “because some day, the airport might want to use traditional passenger loading bridges.” But that answer would make life for today’s passengers traveling to, from, and through Iqaluit very inconvenient.</p> <p>So we eliminated the first rise and fall, which resulted in a more efficient terminal—it’s smaller so passengers don’t have to travel as far. Finding your way also becomes more intuitive: without all the level changes and stairs, a passenger’s path to her plane is much more direct. We also proposed using an innovative type of passenger loading bridge, which attaches to the ground-floor of the terminal, and will keep passengers comfortable no matter what size aircraft they are boarding.</p> <p>The result? Happy passengers today, and in the future.&nbsp;</p>

Pioneering a successful P3 project

The Government of Nunavut liked the idea of building a museum, a legislative assembly, or an airport as a public-private partnership. However, a P3 project has to meet complex criteria.

We evaluated the potential viability of these projects. Of the three, only the airport had the revenue potential to attract private investment. But it couldn’t be an ordinary build. Would the future revenue justify the cost?

We estimated the price tag for designing and building an international airport in the arctic, and also the cost of oper­ating it privately for 30 years. Labour, utilities, maintenance costs, taxes, fees—all were projected for the next three decades.

Price Waterhouse Coopers did some financial number-crunching and used our assessment to build a business case for a P3 airport project. The case was strong enough to re­ceive 25% funding from PPP Canada, a federal corporation created to support innovative public infrastructure projects.

Today, the Iqaluit International Airport stands as the first and only P3 airport project to achieve financial close and proceed into construction—in all of North America.

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<p>The civil aspects of the airport in Iqaluit required collaboration through many offices at Stantec and many people.&nbsp;</p> <p>Collaboration was really an integral part of this project. It was a really large team, and largely across Canada, so we didn’t often have a lot of that face to face contact but obviously our design needs to be seamless.</p> <p>Collaboration was critical to the success of the project. As an example, with the design for the combined heat and power system, it’s required a lot of coordination between everybody to be successful.</p> <p>The most challenging part is to get all the model together with the different disciplines, and well-coordinated.</p> <p>The continued discussion and the continued involvement from everyone on the team starting two years ago has really helped in terms of where we’re starting to see the project go now.</p> <p>One of the greatest things is we had a very strong project management team down in Vancouver. Between Evelyn and Noel and Cecilia, they were very very good leaders.&nbsp; We’ve got people working on this project from the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Quebec, British Columbia, as well as down in California, that it’s quite a large team to pull together. So having really strong leaders and managers has been a really great help.</p> <p>Especially in this kind of project, it’s so important that all the consultants are working very close and communicating very often. It was a benefit to have all the consultants in-house: it takes less time to communicate in the sense that we know the standards, we know the quality that we’re looking for.</p>

We're better together

Our work begins at the intersection of community, creativity, and client relationships. With a long-term commitment to the people and places we serve, we have the unique ability to connect to projects on a personal level and advance the quality of life in communities across the globe.

Stanis Smith
Executive Vice President, Creativity & Innovation
Stanis Smith
Executive Vice President, Creativity & Innovation

Iqaluit is an example of our ability to innovate in process & product. Through an innovative procurement approach, and design, the team won the P3 bid. Already a winner of a major P3 award, it’s on its way to be Canada’s first completed P3 airport.… Read More

Noel Best
Principal
Noel Best
Principal

We brought a contemporary sense of place to this design—open, spacious, and naturally lit—with artfulness and abundant craft.… Read More

Warren Thompson
Principal, Project Delivery Office – Airport Master Planning & Sustainable Development
Warren Thompson
Principal, Project Delivery Office – Airport Master Planning & Sustainable Development

Airports really are little cities, and the variety, complexity, and constantly changing environment makes them a rewarding experience.… Read More

Cecilia Einarson
Principal, Sector Leader, Airports (Terminals)
Cecilia Einarson
Principal, Sector Leader, Airports (Terminals)

Architecture transforms chaos into order, allowing us to positively shape the future of our cities and communities.… Read More

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