Ravn Alaska flying high nearly one year out of bankruptcy

Published: Jul. 17, 2021 at 5:56 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) -There are plenty of smiles to be found at Ravn Alaska these days. The airline is closing in on its first anniversary since it emerged from bankruptcy.

“It’s been just a fantastic, exciting time. I’ve fallen in love with this state and the people here,” said Rob McKinney, the CEO of Ravn Alaska. “This has been the best year of my life being able to restore the service and bring these jobs back.”

McKinney and his partners took control of the airline on August 3, 2020, after they bought it out of bankruptcy. The previous owners’ shut down operations on April 5 after a 90% drop in revenue due to the pandemic. Ravn Alaska resumed service a few months later on November 13.

“When we started this, we rolled up our sleeves,” McKinney said. “We were determined that we were going to get this service restarted.”

The airline now serves 13 cities and villages around the state, which is far less than the more than 100 communities the airline flew to before bankruptcy.

McKinney said the relaunch had its challenges, most notably the pandemic, but federal regulators proved to be another obstacle.

“What challenge has not been is the employees. They’ve been fantastic,” said McKinney. “They’ve all just locked arms and adopted the new spirit. I couldn’t ask for a better team to work with.”

Ravn Alaska is now focused on the future. The Dash 8-300 is the newest addition to the airline’s fleet. It can fly 50 passengers, 13 more than its other turboprop planes. Plus, McKinney said the new plane can do something the current ones can’t — fly nonstop to Dutch Harbor.

The airline plans to add more planes. McKinney said he looks to add 50 smaller electric-powered planes, which are expected to cost less to operate.

As of June, Ravn Alaska is considering the creation of a new airline that would offer nonstop passenger service from Anchorage to Asia and the Lower 48.

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