Airmen in Alaska face rising fuel prices

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – Fuel prices are on the rise, and those who fly to Alaska have seen gasoline and jet fuel prices take off, making flying more expensive.

Recreational pilot Leo Walsh said he bought aviation gasoline in bulk last fall at around $5 a gallon. The Crowley gas station in Lake Hood was charging $6.34 a gallon on Monday.

Walsh has flown in Alaska since 1989 and said high gas prices make you think twice before taking off.

“It turns us all into fair weather flyers,” Walsh said.

But he also acknowledges that aviation is expensive and people often have to pay if they want to gamble.

“At some point you just decide that’s what you want to do and go out and do it,” Walsh said. “And you just bite the bullet, pay more money and buy less of anything else.”

For companies like Rust’s Flying Service, it’s not that simple as they try to manage fluctuating fuel prices and secure reservations for sightseeing this summer. Rust owner Todd Rust added that volatile jet fuel and aviation prices will likely fall on the customer.

“It’s been very variable,” he said. “We’ve seen it go up and down 50 cents a gallon in just a few days. It’s as volatile as it gets right now.

“Of course we have to anticipate what’s going to happen in the future at this point, because we’re now selling trips for the future,” Rust continued.

He said his company burns 50 gallons of jet fuel per hour and his plane flies six to seven hours a day, adding up to 300 to 350 gallons of jet fuel for the turbine-powered aircraft. They also have piston engine planes that use av gas, but Rust said they aren’t used as often.

Correction: This article has been updated to correct the price of aviation gas in Lake Hood on Monday.

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