ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A new leadership team at an Alaska airline that was broken up by bankruptcy hopes to begin renewed service to its former hub communities in September.
Ravn Alaska CEO Rob McKinney said there is no set starting date as the airline tries to stage a comeback from a $9.5 million bankruptcy asset sale earlier this month, The Alaska Journal of Commerce reported Wednesday.
The airline plans to focus on safety and customer service as it gets back off the ground, McKinney said.
RavnAir Group halted operations in April, laid off staff and filed for bankruptcy because of the economic impact of the coronavirus. The company operated more than 400 flights per day with a fleet of 72 aircraft, but passenger traffic dropped more than 90% after the pandemic outbreak.
RavnAir Group also owned the Corvus and PenAir carrier services, which flew passengers from Anchorage to the Aleutian Islands, the Kenai Peninsula and various rural Alaska destinations.
Ravn Alaska will need about 400 employees and is actively recruiting staff. All employees, including former staff, will take courses before restarting, McKinney said.
“Virtually every flight crew is being sent back to training, so everyone’s going to be going to flight safety,” McKinney said.
Ravn Alaska purchased the Federal Aviation Administration Part 121 flight certificates for both Ravn and Penair and nine DeHavilland Dash-8 aircraft.
The company hopes to eventually operate in all its former hub communities except Kodiak and Kotzebue.
“We’re not going to be able to roll out 14 cities on day one,” McKinney said, but he hopes there will be more than 10 cities within a month and 16 cities in six weeks.
“We really are a different Ravn,” McKinney said. “Same planes and the same paint but we have such a different attitude towards the people that we serve.”
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.