FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) After Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage was closed because of a plane landing that had received a bomb threat, a number of large cargo aircraft landed in Fairbanks. One of the planes that landed was the Antonov AN-225, the world’s largest cargo aircraft.
According to Matt McClurg, Chief of Airport Operations at Fairbanks International Airport, five heavy aircraft landed at Fairbanks to refuel before continuing to their final destinations.
The Antonov 225 was supposed to land in Anchorage after having delivered medical supplies to fight COVID-19 to Montreal, Canada. The plane had been in Anchorage earlier this week.
The massive aircraft was on the ground for around three hours as it was refueled. After refueling it took off for Anchorage to overnight there.
The unexpected diversion caused a crowd of onlookers to gather to catch a glimpse of the one of a kind aircraft. The Antonov AN-225 was built in the Ukraine in 1988 when it was still under Soviet Union rule. The aircraft has a 290 foot wingspan. The AN-225 has the record for the heaviest single piece of cargo carried by an airplane when it carried a 417,000 lb generator. It also has the record for the longest cargo carried, a 138 foot wind turbine blade.
McClurg said that Fairbanks has been designed as a diversion point for Anchorage and that the system worked.
"With the staff that we have on, we were able to meet all those [needs], [and] get everybody parked safe. Coordination with tower worked the way it should. Fortunately we were able to handle this, and could probably [do] more as time goes," McClurg said.
Anchorage has been reopened and there are no more aircraft expected in Fairbanks.
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