U.S. Customs permits Dawson Fairbanks flights

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has reversed its decision to deny landing rights to nine weekly Air North flights between Dawson City and Fairbanks, Alaska.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has reversed its decision to deny landing rights to nine weekly Air North flights between Dawson City and Fairbanks, Alaska.

Now, the agency has agreed to create three new customs positions at the Fairbanks International Airport to make the increased traffic possible, according to a news release from Lisa Murkowski, U.S. senator for Alaska.

Murkowski has twice written Customs and Border Protection expressing her support for the flights.

Air North filed an appeal after the landing rights were denied earlier this month.

U.S. Customs responded quickly, reversing the initial decision in about a week.

The addition of three year-round staff will not only make the Air North flights possible but expand opportunities for tourism during all seasons, said Murkowski in the press release.

“Together with the Fairbanks community, it is clear we made our case – and then some. This is more than a silver lining to the storm cloud that we saw overhead for a bit; this is an open door to 365 days of more

international tourism and an increased stream of visitors, commerce and visibility for all of Alaska, but especially the Interior and Alaska’s northern region.”

The flights are the result of a collaboration between Air North and Holland America Line.

The tour company was looking for a way to freshen up its Yukon and Alaska packages, said Erik Elvejord, Holland America’s director of public relations.

The company found that people want to spend more time in key destinations like Dawson City and Alaska’s Denali National Park.

So instead of spending two days on a bus between the destinations, tourists will this summer simply take a one-hour flight.

The bus tours between those locations will no longer be offered, said Elvejord.

Up to 19,000 tourists are expected to fly with Holland America and Air North this summer between Dawson and Fairbanks.

Air North did not respond to an interview request by press time.Contact Jacqueline Ronson at jronson@yukon-news.com

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