Story last updated at 12/24/2008 - 10:51 am
ANCHORAGE - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has found a staffing solution that will allow approval of the landing rights application for Japan Airlines' winter tourism passenger charters to Fairbanks.
The rights had been denied in the past month due to budget concerns within Customs and Border Protection offices.
"The Fairbanks visitor industry, the Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau, state officials, and Japan Airlines have worked far too hard in developing this tourism niche to see it lost due to a lack of federal customs personnel," Gov. Sarah Palin said. "At our request, the U.S. Customs commissioner revisited the issue, and agreed with our position."
"The Japan Airlines charter business has grown from just three flights in 2004 and now brings millions of dollars to Fairbanks in the winter season," Colin Lawrence, tourism director of the Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau said.
Japan Airlines began operating winter charter flights into Fairbanks in 2004. The air service to Fairbanks has delivered approximately 20,000 international visitors and has had an economic impact of about $18 million since service began.