Two years after its Paris air show mission to woo the Airbus A380 team to Iqaluit International Airport for cold weather trials, the guys from the Arctic are back at Le Bourget with a new agenda – to maintain its pre-eminent position as the world’s leading cold weather test centre.
Months after Paris 2005 it was mission accomplished when the A380 MSN004 landed at Iqaluit, capital of Canada’s newest territory Nunavut. To support the cold weather trials, specialised ground support equipment had to be airlifted to Iqaluit.
So successful was the mission that earlier this year Airbus brought three aircraft to the airport. As well as an A320, two other A380s – MSN009 and MSN002 - flew in, making Iqaluit the first airport outside of the Airbus base at Toulouse to host two of the airline leviathans at the same time.
Other cold weather test activity at the airport has included a six-week mission by a Eurocopter EC725 helicopter transported to Iqaluit aboard an Antonov AN124-100 earlier this year.
There have also been visits by the EADS Socata TBM850 and the Dassault Falcon 7X.
“Marketing initiatives such as the Paris Air Show are being actively pursued in order that Iqaluit International Airport maintains its pre-eminent position as the world’s premier cold weather test centre and that this is firmly planted in the mind of the aircraft manufacturers,” John Graham, director Iqaluit International Airport, said at the show yesterday.
He added: “It was an honour for the Iqaluit airport team to host the cold weather test of the A380.
“The first flight to North America by the A380 garnered huge interest by both the general and the aviation media and put Iqaluit and the airport on the world stage.”
Graham says the 2007 cold weather season missions would contribute some $1.7 million to the economy of Nunavut, the Canadian territory created in 1999.
“Cold-weather testing programmes such as the A380 can inject hundreds of thousands of Dollars into the Nunavut economy through expenditures on hotel rooms, dining, transportation, retail sales and through other business activities,” says Graham.
Nunavut is vast but with a tiny population. The entire population of 29,500 could be accommodated in 59 A380s configured for 500 passengers!
Source: Flight Daily News