This has been a difficult and challenging time for everyone, particularly at Fairbanks International Airport (FAI). Who could have predicted that an otherwise busy and ever growing airport could be hit with a pandemic of the magnitude of COVID-19? While FAI is disappointed that our passenger numbers have been drastically reduced, we are hopeful and encouraged that even now we are seeing daily passenger counts increasing.
FAI is hopeful that United Airlines will resume its Chicago flight in early July, and pleased to share that Condor still plans to initiate their seasonal summer flights in early July 2020, as well. Delta continues to operate a daily flight to Seattle, and Alaska Airlines offers four flights daily between FAI and ANC and FAI and SEA. FAI had expected worse, but encouraged to see that airline partners are committed to offer airline services to the Golden Heart City. Although there are daily changes to flight schedules, FAI is encouraged to see slow but steady traffic growth this summer.
The silver lining is that since April 18th, the lowest time for the air industry, air traffic nationally has jumped more than 48%. Should the current rate of growth continue, traffic would be back to prior levels in four months. However, there is still an expectation that growth will be very slow making a comeback considerably longer. Similar growth trends are being seen at FAI which is uplifting, but viewed cautiously.
ON THE GROUND...
FAI is where it's happening during the spring/summer season. Regardless of the current environment, construction is "ramping up" on the west ramp. Arctic Sands, LLC/Omni Logistics, Inc., has prepared their site to build a $6M hangar equipped to house up to 737-900s. Early plans reveal a beautiful structure reminiscent of those seen in areas of the country touting buildings with high end architectural designs. The outside structure will be closed in and complete by fall, and interior finishes will be performed during the winter months. Omni expects building completion by summer 2021. FAI values their continuing partnership with Omni to provide the best in ground handling service to our air carriers with their outstanding customer service and flexibility. Omni will continue to provide ground handling service to many carriers including United Airlines, Air North and Condor, in addition they also handle charters and diversions from ANC.
Life-Med has entered into a new agreement with FAI to construct a $6.9M dollar fully equipped air medical transport facility on a newly created lot on the west ramp of FAI. Their team has completed the preliminary geo-tech activities and plans ground breaking for the new construction June 10th with an anticipated completion date of fall 2021. FAI is looking forward to a long-term partnership with Life-Med. Life-Med has had a presence at FAI since 2012, subleasing a hangar from Alaska Aerofuel. Their confidence and investment commitment at Fairbanks International Airport is truly appreciated. This facility will be a welcomed addition to FAI and our Golden Heart City.
Congratulations to Mark Meyer one of FAI's valued tenants on the East Ramp. He has successfully completed the final step of the certification process for his small jet aircraft operations for a 135 certificate. FAI looks forward to his continuing efforts this summer as he provides critical support to the firefighting operations which protect the people and property in Alaska.
FAI is looking forward to new days and will face the challenges and forge ahead doing everything to maintain and "Keep Alaska Flying and Thriving". A new and brighter future is ahead on the horizon and opportunities will be revealed. FAI is in the cockpit and ready to fly!
Omni Logistics began construction on their new hangar Wednesday, May 6th. FAI is incredibly excited to see construction season begin.
The construction project to build a new LifeMed hangar is beginning. Preliminary construction preparation has begun and groundbreaking in anticipated this Spring.
1st Strike Asset Management, LLC held an auction for aircraft and equipment in April.
Aerial view of Denali. Photo Credit: Mark Meyer, Suburban Air
FAI saw five diversions from ANC Saturday, May 3rd. Among those was the Antonov AN-225, the world's largest cargo aircraft.
Fairbanks International Airport is the gateway to Alaska's interior and Denali National Park. It's one half of the Alaska International Airport System and serves more than a million passengers annually. Equipped to handle any size and type of aircraft, anytime, with state-of-the-art landing systems and terminal facilities. Accounts for 1 in 20 jobs for a total of 1,900 jobs in Fairbanks.