Planeloads of stargazing tourists from Taiwan will be taking direct flights to Fairbanks in December in hopes of seeing the aurora.

The three December flights are offered through Taiwan-based China Airlines, Explore Fairbanks CEO and President Deb Hickok announced Friday. They sold out in two weeks.

Passengers will be part of aurora-centric tours operated by companies in Taiwan, reported The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. The tours and direct flights are part of a trial program, according to Explore Fairbanks tourism director Scott McCrea.

The visits will last four nights and five days and itineraries also include dog sledding, ice fishing and trips to Chena Hot Springs Resort, said McCrea.

Such packages are popular, according to China Airlines Vice President Michel Lo.

“Every year many people join aurora package tours in Taiwan, but most tours require connecting flights that waste much time,” he said in a news-release. “So we decided to plan a value-added, convenient product.”

The Airbus A340 planes seat nearly 280 people and are expected to make the trip from Taipei to Fairbanks in about nine hours.

“Even in conversations where there has been a language barrier, the word ‘aurora’ sparks immediate interest,” McCrea added in the release.

Hickok, the Explore Fairbanks CEO, said in the release that the tours could help grow Fairbanks as a travel destination.

“Direct air access is an important component of our success as a destination, especially when working with a rapidly expanding greater China market,” she said. “These charters combined with recent developments in year-round connectivity from Asia via both Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines boost Fairbanks’ accessibility to the China market.”___

Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Photo Credit: From August 21st and extending through April 21st, Fairbanks Alaska's auroral activity attracts tourists people from around the globe. Chris McLennan / Explore Fairbanks Alaska