The main runway at the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport, pictured on July 19, 2022, will undergo reconstruction work to the tune of $160.7 million. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

The main runway at the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport, pictured on July 19, 2022, will undergo reconstruction work to the tune of $160.7 million. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

$160M airport runway reconstruction getting underway in Whitehorse

The work at the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport is expected to be completed in 2026

Major reconstruction work at the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport will be getting underway soon, according to an update from the Yukon government.

In an email to the News, manager of communications at the Highways and Public Works department Madison Guthrie said a contract was awarded on May 19 to Flatiron Constructors Canada Limited to replace the main runway at the airport.

The contract was awarded for a total of $160.7 million.

“The airport is vital to our territory as it allows for critical medical services, supports our tourism and resource sectors and contributes to Arctic security efforts,” Guthrie said.

“By replacing the main runway, we will continue to ensure the airport meets the needs of the territory now and into the future.”

Guthrie said for the main runway reconstruction, this year will be primarily focused on preparation work, site mobilization and ensuring the parallel runway is ready for next season’s construction season.

Planning with the contractor started in June. In the following years, Guthrie said major reconstruction work will begin on the main runway. This will include fully replacing the runway and adding additional features such as increased lighting.

The proposed work at the airport is scheduled for the next few construction seasons, with 2026 as the anticipated date of completion.

“This work includes airfield drainage improvements, water and sanitary line extensions, fencing to secure the worksite and building two access roads on airport property. Work is anticipated to go until October this year,” she said.

In an Aug. 15 release, the Yukon Party asked the territorial government to update Yukoners on the status and cost of the airport reconstruction project.

Highways and Public Works critic Stacey Hassard said during the spring legislature sitting, he asked Yukon Highways and Public Works Minister Nils Clarke to confirm whether the costs and timelines shown in this year’s budget documents were still accurate but he would not answer.

“The contracting community has shared that subcontractors and suppliers have been signing contracts with the successful company, so the government should inform Yukoners about the winning bid on one of the Yukon’s most expensive capital projects,” he said.

“This is another example of the Liberals showing a lack of transparency when it comes to procurement.”

Hassard said he recently expressed concern about viewing documents on the bids and tenders website, in addition to another concern of the party on tenders being opened behind closed doors.

“Now with one of the biggest capital projects in Yukon’s history set to break ground, the Liberals need to tell Yukoners how much it is going to cost and who will be doing the work,” he said.

Renée Francoeur in cabinet communications said the contract is still available for public viewing starting on June 20 on the Yukon government’s contract registry website, as part of the standard and transparent process.

Francoeur said the recent federal cabinet reshuffle and former Transport minister Omar Alghabra’s decision not to seek re-election impacts the timeline for an official, joint announcement and delays a previously scheduled trip for federal counterparts to Whitehorse.

“Our government respects all partners involved in this project and we look forward to coming together with our federal counterparts in the near future for the official announcement on the reconstruction of the airport runway,” she said.

Contact Patrick Egwu at