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Incentive program that waives fees would bring more flights to Alaska

Posted: August 13, 2011 - 10:52pm

FAIRBANKS — A new incentive program to be tried at Alaska’s two largest airports could mean more flights and fewer stops when traveling to the Lower 48.

The program created by the Alaska Department of Transportation currently is under public review. It calls for waiving certain fees for airlines that expand or create new passenger or cargo service to Fairbanks International Airport and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Friday.

Deb Hickok, the president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau, said that was good news for travelers.

“We’re not like most of the Lower 48, where you can drive anywhere or you have multiple carriers offering competitive flights,” she said. “Access and direct flights are very important for tourism development in our community.”

Persuading airlines to increase service to Alaska can be a hard sell, said Angie Spear, spokeswoman for the Fairbanks airport.

“We’re a long-haul flight,” she said. “It’s not easy to create new service, especially with the rising prices of fuel.”

The program works by cutting landing fees for the new or expanded services for a limited time.

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