Air France pulls out of Fairbanks, bypassing Alaska

Posted: Tuesday, April 01, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Air France Cargo will begin bypassing Alaska after decades of doing business in the state.

Sunday marks the last of 10 Fairbanks stops a week the company makes to refuel its flights and swap crews between Europe and Asia.

Air France Cargo acquired new Boeing 747s capable of longer flights, making the Fairbanks stop unnecessary. The company's landing fees had accounted for 20 percent of the Fairbanks International Airport's annual $6 million revenues.

The company also draws about 1,000 barrels, or 42,000 gallons, of jet fuel a day from Williams Alaska's North Pole refinery. But that accounts for only about 2.5 percent of the refinery's Alaska jet fuel sales per day.

Air France switched from refueling stops in Anchorage to Fairbanks in 1992. The shift saved the company less than an hour of flight time, said Dave Carlstrom, director of airport marketing for the Fairbanks Economic Development Corp.

The company's new route could save as much as four or five hours on round-trip flights, a huge advantage, Carlstrom said.

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