FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Passengers will still have to board through security-screened gates when Alaska Airlines switches to turboprop aircraft for flights from Fairbanks to Anchorage, an airline spokesman said.
Tim Thompson told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/14iVL2Z ) the Transportation Security Administration requires security screenings for aircraft with more than 60 seats. The Q400s that will replace the larger 737 jets have 76 seats.
The airline recently announced that it plans to replace most of the jets it flies between Fairbanks and Anchorage with three turboprop planes, beginning next year, freeing up the jets to be used for new routes between Anchorage and the Lower 48. Q400s also will replace the 737 that flies to Kodiak from Anchorage twice daily from October through April.
The freed-up 737s are to be used by Alaska Airlines for newly announced nonstop routes from Anchorage to Las Vegas and Phoenix.
The turboprops will be boarded outside, and some people are concerned about doing that in the Fairbanks cold. Questions also have been raised about accommodations for passengers with disabilities. The terminal is equipped to handle such passengers, Thompson said.
Era Aviation, which flies smaller planes, boards its turboprops with service to Anchorage through the regional airline section of the Fairbanks terminal. That means passengers don't have to go through security.