Ravn Air reduces service to rural Alaska; some villages have blocked runways - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, June 6, 2020
HomeThe 907Ravn Air reduces service to rural Alaska; some villages have blocked runways

Ravn Air reduces service to rural Alaska; some villages have blocked runways

Ravn Air announced this morning it will reduce passenger and mail service immediately to rural Alaska — over 140 rural communities in all.

Ravn Air owns Hageland and Pen Air and is the dominant carrier for much of rural Alaska.

Last week, Pen Air’s planes were parked and all pilots and crews were laid off, and this morning, most of Hageland planes were repositioned to Palmer and Fairbanks.

Ravn is only going to be running three of its 30 aircraft, a 90 percent reduction. The Dash-8s will fly reduced service to Kenai, Homer, Valdez, King Salmon, Dillingham, Sand Point, Cold Bay, Dutch Harbor, Bethel, Aniak, St. Mary’s, and Unalakleet.

All other scheduled passenger flights researched by Must Read Alaska appear to have been cancelled.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy responded to the news quickly with a statement:

“We want rural Alaskans to know the aviation industry is working cooperatively to ensure essential passenger service, bypass mail and freight service is maintained to their communities during these uncertain times,” said Gov. Dunleavy.This morning I also spoke with officials from the United States Postal Service and they assured me they are working with contract carriers to maintain scheduled service to rural areas. The importance of the supply chain to rural Alaska communities is a priority for my administration.”

Many rural villages have put themselves on lockdown and are not allowing planes to land because no one is allowed in the community during the global pandemic. Reports have come into MRAK that some villages have positioned trucks on their runways to prevent landings.

The supply chain to these villages can continue with chartered services, but no commercial passenger services will be available to dozens of villages across Alaska for some time.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • If those runways were paid with federal funds it is illegal to block runways

    • While absolutely factual, good luck enforcing those rules in the current environment.

  • Let them live the “Subsistence Life Style” in earnest.

    • Let’s keep the racist “them” comments out of this. They are people trying to stay alive the old school way. By blocking off virus from ever getting in.

    • I wouldn’t get too snarky. You’re probably next.

  • Not at all. The Governor stopped all in-state air traffic. Nobody in or out unless it’s an emergency. Of course they were built with federal grants. ALL villages are federal trust land. This means that federal law applies in them, even over state law.

    • No he didn’t, and even if he did he has no means of enforcing this. He can’t stop me from flying anywhere.

    • Many villages (probably most) are built on land which was initially surveyed and transferred by the federal government, via clear title, to the city government (or state in the case of airports) in the 60’s and early 70’s. Individual occupied lots were often transferred direct, via BIA trust deed, at that time. This was before ANCSA and tribal issues were developed in AK. However, since those initial transfers, ownership is generally clear deeds owned by the city (unless farther deeded by the city).

      • Nope. The feds wanted to protect the land in cases of bankruptcy where an unknown entity could take it. It’s federal trust land.

  • Yup, the village is locked down. No one comes or goes, no one is sick.

    It’s been two weeks. Everyone inhales oxygen in the store and post office, thereby intermingling with everyone else, so how about opening the village school????

    GCI is overwhelmed with kids needing to go virtual.

    • Not yet. Not till the fat lady………

      • Be a while. Auntie Olinga has a sore throat.

    • Willie, shhhhhhhhh. You are making sense again. Stop it! : )

  • Well, this is going to get interesting, village stores are subsidized by by-pass mail delivery. Soda Pop being one of the biggest items enjoying the reduced rate. Soda pop is important to the local economy because it means once injested by Village residents it decays teeth and causes diabetes. This means the Air Carrier then gets a passenger fare taking poisoned village residents back to Nome or Bethel for medical care. Often these patients get transfered to Anchorage and back. A vortex of insanity.

    • Dude, dude, have you never heard of diet pop? Zero calories and sugar. The lack of dental hygiene MAY be causing tooth decay, not what folks eat. I don’t think stores are subsidized, the airlines hauling the mail are though. Dentists do visit the villages several times a year. No need for medivacs. LOL

  • I am contacting you all to protest the closure of the airstrips in some Alaska villages as illegal and dangerous.
    This is a violation of AS 02.20.050 and AS 02.20.06(b) provides a penalty for an unauthorized closure.
    Whomever took this action needs to be charged under AS 02.20.06(b) and AS 11.41.250 Reckless endangerment.
    I have personal experience with this type of illegal act, and it cannot be ignored.
    This situation presents an unwarranted hazard to pilots and passengers in an aircraft in trouble or seeking haven, because of weather.
    Further, it presents a danger to those needing medical evacuation in the villages.
    Has everyone gone nuts?

    • Thank you for a moment of sanity here – it’s illegal due to emergency and safety considerations for Pete’s sake! Even on an unimproved Cub strip, this would be highly frowned upon and full of potential liability.

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