Ravn Alaska prepares for Bristol Bay routes
On Thursday, Ravn Alaska executives and staff will be in Bristol Bay to meet and greet with the communities they will begin offering regular service to next month.
"We're really excited, this is the first new route we've put in place for six years now," chief commercial officer, Derek Shanks, said during a recent trip to town. "We're coming out of King Salmon and Dillingham, serving the community, and we're really looking forward to it."
Ravn will offer competition to Peninsula Airways, a Bristol Bay born and raised airline that recently came on tough times and filed for bankruptcy in 2017. PenAir's service to Dillingham and King Salmon has stayed consistent, despite the financial woes.
Ravn, which is Alaska's largest regional airline, will be flying twice between Anchorage and King Salmon and Dillingham each weekday, and once on each weekend day. Up to 29 passengers with up to 100 pounds of luggage each can fly in or out on the DeHavilland DHC-8-100, better known as the "Dash 8." It's an aircraft Shanks said the company has used often for chartered flights to Bristol Bay.
"Particularly in the peak [summer] season. So, definitely the right aircraft for coming in here. We have two configurations, we have a 29-seater and a 37-seater. We're bringing the 29-seater in here, which allows a little bit more space for the freight and the luggage."
Ravn will be using the King Air terminal in King Salmon, and the Freshwater Adventures terminal in Dillingham. Shanks had just been by Freshwater's hangar, owned by Dillingham pilot and entrepreneur Jerry Ball, before he spoke with KDLG Friday.
"They're completely revamping it all in there, making sure we have enough seats, that the luggage delivery will be right. That's all being sorted out at the moment, and we'll be ready for our first flight on the 14th of February," he said.
As they break into the market, Ravn is trying to offer cheaper fares and more baggage per passenger than PenAir. One thing Ravn does not have - yet, said Shanks - is code sharing with Alaska Airlines to the Dillingham and King Salmon destinations. Passengers who have come to appreciate the convenience of one-stop reservations, ticketing, check-in, etc., often done through Alaska Airlines' credit card website, will find those services only with PenAir.
All three companies' websites contain more information about code sharing and other special offers.
Ravn Alaska is owned by the New York-based investment group J.F. Lehman.
Community meet and greets are scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday in King Salmon and 1:45 p.m. in Dillingham.