The recent mishap on an Alaska Airlines flight and the subsequent grounding of aircraft brought national attention to the aviation industry. Fortunately, Alaska Airlines was able to handle the situation without reducing service to rural Alaska.
Like most Alaskan communities, Nome is not connected to the road system, so food, fuel, and other supplies can only arrive by sea or air. Furthermore, sea is not an option when Nome’s port freezes over in winter.
Two scheduled Alaska Airlines flights fly between Anchorage and Nome daily. Nomeites commonly take the 1.5 to 2-hour flight to Anchorage for purposes like shopping or medical procedures unavailable at Nome’s hospital. Planes arrive in Nome laden with groceries, mail, and Amazon packages, as well as passengers. Small air taxi services such as Bering Air operate small bush planes connecting Nome with smaller communities throughout the region.
If the accident in January had happened in rural Alaska, it would have severed the slender logistical thread that supports the region.
To keep listeners apprised of events like flight delays due to weather (a common occurrence in Western Alaska), KNOM announces Alaska Airlines flight status updates several times each day.
Image at top: Alaska Airlines parked at the Nome airport to pick up passengers. Photo courtesy of Ava White, used with permission.