St. John’s International Airport Authority in Canada has reopened its primary runway to full length, following its upgrade with Category III Instrument Landing Systems (Cat 3 ILS).

The project, which was carried out for six months, forms a part of the airport’s $37.3m Airfield Accessibility and Safety Initiative.

NAV Canada has installed the Cat 3 ILS on both ends of the 8,500ft primary runway and is in the process of having it certified.

"The extensive improvements that have been made will result in a substantially improved level of service."

Expected to become operational next year, CAT 3 ILS will allow aircraft to land and take-off in conditions of very low visibility; a weather challenge that has had an impact on the airport’s operation for years.

The upgraded runway will increase the usability of the airport to 99%, resulting in 700 more flights and 70,000 more passengers annually.

Civil and electrical works under the upgrade project included the installation of 1,105 inset lights and 100,000m long airfield lighting cable.

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The airport is a pioneer in the use of LED lights on approach towers.

The 180,000m2 pavement at the airport was also renewed.

St. John’s International Airport Authority infrastructure and planning director Peter Avery said: "The extensive improvements that have been made will result in a substantially improved level of service, and the benefits for our airline partners and passengers will be enjoyed for many years to come."

The runway project contractors were Pyramid, Tristar, and Black and McDonald and engineering consultants were WSP and MHPM.

Nearly 2% of all flights were impacted due to the six-month closure of the primary runway during construction, which is much less than the anticipated 5%.

The primary runway was partially opened in September.

The airport is also undergoing terminal expansion, with the first phase (east expansion) scheduled to be completed in 2018, and the second (west expansion) in 2021.