Fairbanks International Airport (FAI), one half of the Alaska International Airport System is forecasting an increase in seat capacity for summer seasonal carriers, Delta Air Lines (DL) and United Airlines (UA). DL is increasing seat capacity in May by 37 percent and United Airlines is increasing seat capacity in August by 33 percent. This growth will add approximately 1,112 seats for DL and 830 seats for UA.
Alaska Airlines phased out their Bombardier Q400 aircraft in Fairbanks replacing them with the larger Boeing 737 aircraft in March resulting in a 20 percent seat capacity increase between the Anchorage and Fairbanks markets predicting an additional 17,000 seats.
“The Fairbanks airport is the gateway to Alaska’s Interior as well as Denali National Park,” said Jeff Roach, Airport Manager. “The increase in seats provide additional opportunities as well as flexibility for travelers and their itineraries.”
Seat capacity increases are crucial not just for the Fairbanks community but it also accommodates additional seats needed by the growing cruise industry that offer land tour packages.
“With Cross-Gulf itineraries projected to grow 25 percent this summer, Fairbanks should see a very strong summer visitor season,” said John Binkley President of the Cruise Lines International Association Alaska. “A projected record of 404,200 passengers are expected on open-jaw (one-way) itineraries to Southcentral Alaska, many of which will make their way to Denali National Park and Fairbanks as part of extended land tours. This increase is mostly attributable to Princess Cruises adding a ship. In addition, Holland America Line is increasing ship size while Windstar Cruises is offering a Cross-Gulf option for the first time. Next year looks even brighter with Azamara Club Cruises, Cunard and Viking entering the Alaska market by introducing one-way itineraries with land tour options.”
Commercial airlines operating at FAI this summer include Air North, Alaska Airlines, Condor, Delta Air Lines, 40-Mile Air, Ravn Alaska and United Airlines.
Due to increased traffic, travelers are encouraged to arrive at the airport two hours prior to their scheduled departure. To ensure passengers are leaving all prohibited items at home please visit the TSA “What Can I Bring” website. Visit fai.alaska.gov to view summer operating hours for airport concessionaires.