United prepPreparing for new United flights Representatives from Fairbanks International Airport (FAI) and Explore Fairbanks pose with operations personnel for United Airlines in early January as they prepped for summer flights. United Airlines announced new five-hour, San Francisco-to-Fairbanks direct flights from June 6 to September 3, operating three days/week. United’s San Francisco flights were given impetus by a $750,000 grant awarded to FAI through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP) to help improve airline service. Explore Fairbanks assumed responsibility via a Memorandum of Understanding with FAI to take responsibility for the coordination of cash and in-kind community partner commitments. Explore Fairbanks contributed $40,000 of the $70,000 cash match raised by the community to accompany the grant application and, over a two-year period, has committed a minimum of $48,000 of the $127,450 in-kind commitments. Explore Fairbanks is aggressively marketing both the inbound and outbound United flights direct from San Francisco and Denver hubs. The five-and-a-half-hour Denver service will be in operation from June 7 to September 2, also operating three days/week. United has been offering nonstop summer seasonal service from Fairbanks to Chicago since 2013. The daily service began on April 29 and will continue to October 10, an extension of more than two months over the summer 2018 schedule. Fairbanks is also served seasonally with direct flights to Minneapolis with Delta Airlines, and year-round with service to Seattle with both Delta and Alaska airlines. Also, in summer 2019, Alaska Airlines is offering an additional fifth daily flight to Seattle, resulting in a 17 percent increase.