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Under new ownership, Ravn Alaska in the process of returning to the skies

Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 4:40 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Ravn Alaska is in full restart mode under new ownership after Ravn Air Group filed for bankruptcy and laid off all staff back in April. With the sale finalized, Ravn Alaska is beginning the steps to resume service including re-hiring staff and training flight crews with hopes of getting back in the air as early as mid-September.

This particular sale of some of Ravn Air Group’s assets includes several Dash-8s, a Saab 340, terminal leases and two Federal Aviation Administration certificates Part 121 certificates.

Ravn Alaska will operate the two certificates to eventually bring service back to the Aleutian Chain, Bristol Bay, Prince William Sound, the Kenai Peninsula, Norton Sound, the Interior and Arctic Alaska. Ravn’s new CEO, Rob McKinney, says the first priority will be bringing service back to Unalaska and St. Paul.

“Unalaska has the big fishing season coming up here and there’s lots of concern about moving workers back out to be ready for ‘A' season, so we’re trying to make sure that they’re at the top of the list. They’re completely without service, where some of the closer-in cities actually can still drive. We’re trying to make sure we’re focused on the communities that are stranded without Ravn’s service,” said McKinney. “St. Paul, they’re also a contract with the federal government that Ravn has not been fulfilling since they shut down.”

Ravn Alaska is in the process of training and hiring flight crews to make that happen. McKinney says the company intends to re-hire 400 of Ravn Air's former employees.

"A lot of people saw in the bankruptcy proceedings they had 1300 employees, but that was mostly for parts of the business that we didn't end up acquiring that was further out in the villages," said McKinney. "So far, it's been 100% former Ravn employees that really want to come back. They put their blood, sweat, and tears, and really cared about this airline."

McKinney says for at least the first six months, the airline will be operating at about 40% capacity. The hope is to eventually bring the same level of service Ravn previously brought to remote areas of the state.

"There will be a few shortages just because we don't have as many aircraft as what they had in the previous iteration of Ravn, and so we're going to be targeting and focusing and making sure that we do a really good job before we keep expanding and go to all the cities that they used to go to."

McKinney says safety is also a main focus ahead of resuming service.

“We’ve reached out to both Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines, and both of their safety departments have agreed to come in and kind of partner with us and make sure that all our protocols are what they need to be and be up to their standards,” said McKinney.

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