Fairbanks International Airport has recently welcomed some smaller planes to the East Ramp runway.
“We’re basically allowing small jets to operate on the East Ramp in accordance with the design group of the East Ramp runway,” said Angie Spear, airport operations manager.
In late November, small jet aircraft operations were approved for East Ramp. On Nov. 27, the area saw a Cessna Citation 1SP twin jet be the first to arrive at the ramp.
Mark Meyer, president of Suburban Air Express Inc., said the jet was coming into its new home base, its hangar, to prepare for next year’s fire season.
The jet is a new addition that will be flying forest fires for state of Alaska and the federal Bureau of Land Management during the summers, according to Meyer.
“With the jet, it just gives us the ability to respond all over the state of Alaska to fires as needed much quicker,” he said.
Spear said the runway was designed for a certain group of aircraft, including some smaller jets. She added that opening the runway allows for more business development.
The airport received several inquiries from operators who want to operate small jets on the east ramp, according to Spear.
A variety of business needs can be served by allowing small jet operations. People might be interested in owning, building, leasing a hangar over there, she noted.
“The reasons would vary depending on the operator,” Spear said.
Spear added that she thinks it will be gradual but that the airport is hoping to see some more activity out at the East Ramp.
“We have land available for lease, and we’re hoping that it could even potentially increase development,” she said.
Spear noted the airport is really excited to see small jet operators on the east ramp and wants to meet the needs of its users.
Meyer said it’s been good working with the airport authorities to open up the East Ramp to this type of operation because it allows them to grow and better serve the entire state.
His company doesn’t have any other jets out at the runway at present; however, that might not stay the case.
“We’re always looking for places to grow and more opportunities,” Meyer said.
Contact staff writer Kyrie Long at 459-7510. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/FDNMlocal.