Families struggle as Unalaska flights remain cancelled after crash

 Courtesy Victor Weaver
Courtesy Victor Weaver (KTUU)
Published: Oct. 24, 2019 at 6:51 PM AKDT
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It’s been a week since a Saab 2000 crashed in Dutch Harbor killing one person and injuring multiple others. In that time, all regularly-scheduled flights to and from Unalaska have been cancelled and people’s lives have been put on hold while they wait to get home.

Right now, the quickest way to get there is by chartering a plane, which can be very expensive. However, other regional airliners are trying to figure out how to get people where they need to be according to statements from Ravn Air, Alaska Airlines, and Grant Aviation.

Ravn Air said in a statement that they will be sending a commercial flight from Anchorage to Unalaska in a Dash 8 instead of a Saab 2000 the week of November 4th.

Alaska Airlines made a statement that they aren’t sending any Saab 2000’s to the island until the preliminary findings of the National Transportation Safety Board have been reviewed.

Grant Aviation said in a statement they are going to try and increase the number of flights from Unalaska to Cold Bay to try and get people where the need to go. One-way flights will cost $225 one way. From Cold Bay, passengers could book with Alaska Airlines to get to Anchorage.

Erin Reinders, the City Manager in Unalaska, said they are trying to work with these airlines and charters and communicate them back to people stuck on the island.

“So we can make that more readily available to the community,” she said, “certainly not everybody is in a situation where they could take advantage of that but pooling of resources is certainly occurring at this point.”

Catina Shaishkinoff reached out to Channel 2 to talk about how this is affecting her life. She lives in Unalaska, where she is currently at right now. However, her kids are stuck in Anchorage.

Shaishkinoff said she sent her 8 and 10-year-olds to Anchorage to visit with her mother-in-law to visit other family and go to AFN. Their flight out of Unalaska departed only hours before the crash according to Shaishkinoff.

She said they’re fine and in good hands, but she wants her kids to come home.

“Well that report this morning said that there’s no flights until maybe the 8th of November, so there’s no way I can wait that long,” she said, “So my only option now is to put them on a charter.”

The prices she’s seen so far are making her much less happy than she already is with the situation she said.

“Prices definitely range. From like $800 to $700,” she said, “The one that we’ve seen is at $1,500 one way. So if I have to get four seats, that’s the grandparents and the kids, and that’s $6,000.”

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