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Environmental assessment to go ahead for new airport in Nain, Labrador

January 2, 2024  By Wings Staff

The Nain airstrip in Labrador has no light for night landings and is slowly sinking into the ocean. (Photo: Sanuda Ranawake, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)

An environmental assessment is the next step in a planned new airport in Nain, described as the northernmost permanent settlement in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, to replace the existing airstrip, which has been constantly deteriorating over the years and is sinking in its location next to the ocean.

On Tuesday, Dec.19, Environment and Climate Change Minister Bernard Davis announced that an environmental assessment for the new airport will be required.

The provincial government, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, and the Nunatsiavut Government are each required to conduct an environmental assessment, but the three jurisdictions are working together to avoid duplication.

Oldest in region
The current airstrip in Nain is the oldest on the north coast of Labrador, having been built in the 1970s. It also remains unlit, which makes landing at night impossible. The airport is maintained with the use of a $1-million annual grant from the federal government.


Both the Nunatsiavut Government and PAL Airlines confirmed the current airport is still operational and regularly scheduled flights are taking place with no disruption.

Planned new airport
A feasibility study was approved for a new airport in 2021. The announcement this week by Davis confirmed many details about the proposed new facility. It will have an 1,830-metre-long gravel runway, a multifunctional airport terminal, hangar and other related infrastructure, and a 13-kilometre access road. The new airport is expected to operate year-round. However, construction on the new airport will not begin until plans for funding are established.

The deadline for public comments as part of the environmental assessment process is Feb.16, 2024, and the final decision by the minister is due by Feb. 26, 2024.


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