Fog sends planes to Kenai

Posted: Sunday, November 10, 2002

Kenai Municipal Airport didn't have much chance to roll out the red carpet for its large and unexpected visitors Friday, unless the red airport rescue and fire-fighting vehicles count.

The airport played host to two Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 jets and some cargo planes that were were diverted from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport when conditions in Anchorage became too foggy for the planes to land.

Ordinarily, jets are diverted to Fairbanks, but these came to Kenai to refuel, said Mary Bondurant, acting airport manager.

"It was a exciting," Bondurant said. "This hasn't happened since (the four years) I've been here."

The planes started landing about 4:15 p.m. and refueled while waiting for the fog to lift. In under an hour, they were back in the air, with the last jet taking off around 5 p.m.

The Kenai airport has the necessary facilities to handle a landing 737 jet. As a precaution, the Kenai Fire Department sent its two ARFF vehicles to the airport to wait on stand-by in case they were needed. The police station responded as well for security reasons, Bondurant said.

The airport terminal does not have the security features required to allow the passengers to deplane, however, so they remained on board during their brief stay in Kenai.

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