The federal Department of Transportation has awarded a $750,000 grant to Fairbanks International Airport to add incentive to an air carrier to launch and promote new non-stop service from Fairbanks to Los Angeles or Phoenix – or possibly both.
Airport spokeswoman Sammy Loud says those are the among Fairbanks International’s two most unserved markets – meaning there aren’t enough non-stop flights to those cities to meet demand.
“L.A. is out number-one unserved market,” Loud said, “and then Phoenix is in the top 10 of Fairbanks’ unserved markets.”
A news release issued Thursday by the Transportation Department says the grant was one of 16 nationwide the agency awarded through its Small Community Air Service Development Program. The program helps smaller cities find solutions to their area’s air-service needs.
“Programs like this Small Community Air Service Development Program enable airports like Fairbanks to compete with larger airports, and we’re thrilled,” she said. “We can’t be more excited to have received this grant.”
Loud says the grant will help the airport secure a commitment from an air carrier to provide the additional nonstop flights to one or both of those cities.
“The grant can be utilized by any U.S. carrier,” she said.
Loud says the flight would initially be offered during the summer tourism season. But she says airport officials always attempt to work with air carriers to extend tourism-season flights year-round.
The news release says the communities were selected largely by the amount of local investment, including in-kind contributions, that have committed to help provide additional air service. It says nearly all of the communities also have established public-private partnerships to promote local participation, planning and other assistance for adding air services.
Loud says Explore Fairbanks was the “most-involved” of the airport’s partner organizations that helped it win the grant award.