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Fairbanks International Airport expecting record passengers, new flights over summer

Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 5:22 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Fairbanks International Airport is expecting a record number passengers flying into Alaska over the summer. The increase comes as the airport will be welcoming new airlines and new flights from existing airlines that service Fairbanks. According to airport manager Angie Spear, they are expecting a 33% increase in seat capacity over 2019.

“We are not comparing apples to oranges, we are comparing apples to apples. We are looking at pre-COVID passenger numbers and we are up 33% over those numbers,” Spear said.

She says this is a significant increase and signifies the rebound of the air and tourism industries that were hit hard due to the pandemic.

Flights will be seasonably available on United, American, Sun Country and Condor Airlines while Delta and Alaska will continue to serve the city year-round. According to the airport, United will offer flights from Chicago and a new flight to Anchorage. Delta increased the number of flights from Fairbanks to Seattle as well as added direct flights to Minneapolis. Alaska is increasing the number of flights to and from Seattle and Anchorage and American is flying to Fairbanks for the first time with non-stop flights for Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago. Sun Country Airline is a budget air carrier that will offer once a week flights to Minneapolis. Condor is also offering a non-stop Fairbanks to Frankfurt flight for the 20th year.

Spear said the increase in flights is largely due to people realizing the value of tourism in Alaska during a pandemic.

“There is a desire for people to take vacations but to go to the wide open spaces so to speak. And Alaska has the widest open spaces. We are the widest state in the union and there is a lot of interest for people to visit Alaska with their families,” Spear said.

She said that all of the new flights and passengers will be great for the airport but it will also help the community.

“The community benefits because those people are going to spend money in the community. There’s going to be hotels, there’s going to be rental cars, there’s going to be tours, there’s going to be just a wide verity of tourism based activities,” She said.

She added that while many of the flights are seasonal, she hopes that air carriers realize the year-round benefits of flying to Fairbanks and increase flights to and from the city.

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