Iqaluit airport's instrument landing system has failed twice in the past week

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Iqaluit airport's instrument landing system has failed twice in the past week

Iqaluit airport's instrument landing system has failed twice in the past week

A temporary solution to power the instrument landing system at the Iqaluit airport is proving problematic — so much so that it's failed twice in the past week.

Troubles started in late March, when the transformer and cables that power the equipment sitting at the north end of the runway failed. Then, for reasons airport staff don't know, two generators in a row failed, causing the system to go down on April 6 and again April 10. 

Now a third generator is powering the system that gives landing information to pilots.

When the weather is clear, pilots can rely on visual cues to land. 

"But in poor weather it means they can't come in close enough to make a proper decision," said John Hawkins, director of the Iqaluit airport. "They may have to turn around and possibly go somewhere else."

So far, no travel has been affected, but a future breakdown could cause flights to be cancelled or diverted.

"They have their own procedures and they won't come in close if they don't have the instruments to take them there."

Airport officials knew the cable and transformers were getting old. The system is scheduled to be replaced this summer as part of the overall upgrades to the airport. However, they failed before that could happen, Hawkins said.

The cable runs underground so can't be repaired until the weather warms up.

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