Private charters prompt legal concerns as Unalaska flight restrictions continue

 Unalaska (Photo from Alaska Department of Commerce 1999)
Unalaska (Photo from Alaska Department of Commerce 1999) (KTUU)
Published: Oct. 31, 2019 at 10:26 PM AKDT
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Before Unalaska declared a state of emergency, some took it upon themselves to charter flights in and out of the city.

“I myself needed to get out of Dutch Harbor,” said Brianna Dwyer, whose family owns fishing boats in Unalaska. “And then I realized that I also needed to get my crew out of Dutch our only affordable option was going to be the Ravn charter they had advertised."

Word about those chartered planes spread quickly.

“I think I filled up the two planes within 48 hours,” Dwyer said.

Until the town hall Friday, when concerns about Department of Transportation regulations halted the combined charters.

“Once the legal concerns came to light, that's when Ravn put a stop to things until they could figure out how to navigate that scenario in the best way so that nobody would get in trouble," Dwyer said.

But what's odd is flights were reportedly chartered that way long before the plane crash.

“A lot of individuals have chartered planes this way for years,” Dwyer said. “I don't think anybody even necessarily realized it was an issue until now."

Since those flights stopped, travel has been nearly impossible in Unalaska, prompting the city to declare a state of emergency.

it gives the city manager the authority to "take any and all action necessary to make available a plan of no more than two charter flights a week to and from Unalaska."

“That will alleviate some of the stress that was put on individuals that were really just trying to help people," Dwyer said

The declaration is set to last 7 days, or until regular flights resume, which could be as early as November 4.

KTUU Reached out to the Mayor and City Manager of Unalaska, but they were unable to respond before deadline.

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