Goin Polar? Try Fairbanks

 - October 18, 2006, 1:27 PM

Alaska Aerofuel of Fairbanks, Alaska (PAFA), cut the ribbon on a new hangar last month, with on-site U.S. Customs office, pilot lounge, snooze rooms, showers, a conference room and passenger lounge with flat-screen plasma televisions and hi-speed Internet access. Ed McClure, director of customer service, said most of the FBO’s linemen have more than 10 years’ experience and consistently turn tech stops in less than 30 minutes. Twenty-four-hour gourmet catering service, crew cars and on-site rental cars are also available.

McClure also maintains that Fairbanks offers clear advantages over other tech stops for northern polar routes. He said traffic delays are rare, the weather is VFR 94 percent of the time, the airport has Category IV approach capability and the lack of humidity translates to low incidence of icing conditions, even in the dead of the long Alaska winter. McClure said, “While jets are stuck in a traffic pattern waiting to land somewhere else, or are seven-deep waiting for a second de-icing, those jets could have come and gone by traveling through Fairbanks.” Routing through Fairbanks can shave 35 to 150 nm from a polar flight, depending on its departure and arrival points, he said. And Alaska Aerofuel is so confident about the airport’s dearth of icing conditions, it offers free de-icing to aircraft operators on tech stops. Alaska Aerofuel began operations in 1982 and services general aviation, government, military and air-taxi operations.