Lights out: Quinhagak air service is limited

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Night flights on hold until the end of the month, possibly longer

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska Native community airport has been unable to receive night flights or medevac flights because of disabled runway lights, officials said.

Alaska's Energy Desk reported that officials noticed Quinhagak's runway lights were not working properly in September.

The damage to the lights became obvious when the nights became longer, officials said.

"There are some that are pulled out or have popped out," Quinhagak Tribal Administrator Patrick Cleveland said.

Quinhagak has closed the airport to all night flights until the end of the month and possibly longer, officials said.

The state Department of Transportation promised to supply the airport with emergency lights so medevac flights can land, Quinhagak Native Tribal Council President Darren Cleveland said in a social media post.

Quinhagak took over ownership of the airport from the state in the 1990s, officials said.

The tribe can apply for repair funding from the state, which oversees money from the Federal Aviation Administration, Alaska Department of Transportation spokesperson Shannon McCarthy said.

"But in terms of actually getting funding, they would have to work with FAA," McCarthy said.



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