Between 1984 and 1991, airports were built in all the northern villages except Kuujjuaraapik and Kuujjuaq, where there were already facilities. Then and still today, along with the homes, schools and health centres constructed during the same period, these airports have had the most meaningful impact on living conditions in the region.
To meet the region’s growing needs (population, health care, tourism, mining activity and business development), major upgrades have become necessary. For this purpose, airport improvement planning and work for the 13 community airports owned by the Québec government have been implemented by the Ministère des Transports du Québec (transportation) and the KRG since 2008.
Security Screening in Puvirnituq
Major upgrading work carried out in Puvirnituq has made this community airport a transportation hub for the Nunavik communities of Hudson Bay. Notwithstanding, since security screening services are not provided, passengers on flights leaving Puvirnituq for Montreal are required to pass through security screening services offered at the airports in Kuujjuaraapik or La Grande. This practice increases the operating costs of airline companies and is an inconvenience for passengers in general who must deplane at an intermediate stop and pass through security before re-boarding their aircraft.
In 2012, the KRG adopted a resolution requesting that the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) provide security screening services at the terminal building in Puvirnituq. Other organizations, such as the Makivik Corporation and the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, have also communicated with the CATSA on this topic.
In recent years, new obligations have been transferred to airport operators, such as safety management systems, airport security plans and environmental management systems. Safety management systems at each airport include daily inspections, incident reporting and self audits.
In accordance with the Canadian Aviation Regulations, full-scale emergency exercises must be conducted at airports every four years and table-top exercises annually. The Department organizes these exercises at community airports in cooperation with the KRG Public Security Department, Canadian Rangers, municipal fire brigades and CLSCs. The goal is to test and improve the preparedness of local emergency response resources.