FAIRBANKS (AP) A 747 jet full of Japanese tourists touched down at Fairbanks International Airport a little less than seven hours after taking off from Tokyo, marking the first direct passenger flight from Japan to Fairbanks in decades.
The plane's 291 passengers who arrived Wednesday morning included the president of Japan Air Lines and his wife. They will spend four nights in the Fairbanks area and leave on another JAL flight Sunday morning.
The visitors are on package tours. While in the Fairbanks area, they will be engaged in a variety of activities, including aurora viewing, skiing and dogsled rides.
The flight, as well as two in February, are sold out, said Colin Lawrence, Fairbanks Convention and Visitor's Bureau's tourism manager.
It is the culmination of several years of negotiations between the airline, FCVB and other local representatives. The three flights are expected to pump a total of more than $1 million into the local economy, Lawrence said.
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