Akutan Airport, Akun Island

Akutan Airport, Akun Island

by | Oct 17, 2018

The Akutan Airport is a State of Alaska owned public-use airport that serves the community of Akutan. Akutan is 766 miles (1,235 km) southwest of Anchorage and has a year-round population of about 75. But more than 1,000 seasonal employees work at the Trident Seafood fish processing plant, described as the largest such facility in North America. The airport is located on uninhabited Akun Island, 6.9 miles (11.1 km), and across Akutan Bay from Akutan village.

Akutan was served for decades by a World War II-era Grumman Goose, an amphibious aircraft, that would land in the harbor and then taxi to shore and up a ramp in town. The age and operating costs of that aircraft led officials to start planning a new airport in 1999. But the steep terrain on volcanic Akutan presented obstacles, so planners looked to Akun Island as an alternative site.

The airport was opened in 2012 with a single asphalt runway 4,500 feet (1,372 m) long. The connection to Akutan was provided for a few years by hovercraft but it was unable to safely operate in high winds and rough seas, so it was often grounded. Ultimately, the hovercraft was too expensive to operate and a helicopter is now used to shuttle passengers and cargo. Scheduled air service to Akutan from Anchorage is subsidized by the Essential Air Service program. Read more here and here. Explore more of the airport and Akun Island here:

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