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Flight with U.S. troops from Afghanistan stops at BGR

One of the last flights to leave Kabul stopped at Bangor International Airport Wednesday before departing to its final destination.

BANGOR, Maine — One of the final flights to depart from Kabul, Afghanistan, with U.S. military troops stopped at Bangor International Airport (BGR) Wednesday afternoon.

On the non-commercial side of operations, the airport is commonly used as a stopping point for private and military aircraft to refuel. Kevin Kipler, Ramp Services Manager at BGR, said his crews see a lot of military traffic. 

"They could see fifteen to twenty C-17’s in a 24-hour period,” Kipler said. 

The C-17 Globemaster is a large military aircraft used by the United States Air Force. It's the same aircraft that landed at the airport Wednesday from Afghanistan.

"What also makes it a great stop is it's convenient, it's not congested. You're in and out. We can turn aircraft in less than 30 minutes and a lot of our customers appreciate that," Kipler said.

Heather Lavaway, Customer Service Supervisor at Bangor Aviation services, said the airport is a major stopping point for aircraft for two main reasons.

"One, we're on the Great Circle Route going over to Europe. And two, our service, it can't be beat," Lavaway said.

In a way, the airport could be considered a crossroads for the world. It's the first aviation point of entry on the east coast of the United States. The Great Circle Route is the shortest distance between two points on a sphere. In this case, the route is part of what makes Bangor the first aviation point of entry on the eastern side of the U.S. Pilots usually opt to travel these routes to save time and fuel.

"Planes want to get in here and out of here as quick as possible. They want to fill up. This is their gas station and we're ok with being their gas station," Lavaway said.

Tony Caruso, Airport Director for Bangor International Airport, said a big part of the success of their operations is thanks to the staff.

"Employees that we have and employees that used to work for us have really kind of helped put Bangor on the map," Caruso said.

The military flight from Afghanistan continued its journey and took off from BGR Thursday morning.