International Expansion? Alaska’s Ravn Eyes Boeing 757 Operations

Alaskan regional airline Ravn Alaska is looking to expand its network by offering Boeing 757 flights to the lower 48 states and Asia. Calling the Boeing 757 service ‘Northern Pacific Airways’, the company’s CEO, Rob McKinney, said Ravn Alaska would need to acquire ten aircraft that they would base at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC).

Bombardier Dash 8 de Havilland Dash 8-100
Ravn Alaska has a fleet of ten Dash 8-100s. Photo: Krjones907 via Wikipedia

According to McKinney’s YouTube video, the planes would operate out of the underused North Terminal with flights to Tokyo, Seoul, Orlando, Newark, Las Vegas, Oakland, and Ontario. Somewhat confusing as the first thing that comes to mind when you see Ontario is the Canadian Province. However, in this instance, Ontario International Airport (ONT) is located 38 miles east of Downtown Los Angeles.

The video was removed a day later

When reporting on the story for PBS and NPR non-profit affiliate Alaska Public Media quotes McKinney with saying the following:

“We are really digging into these numbers and are very certain of the value of what we’re going to be able to bring to the public.”

First published on Youtube on Monday, the video was taken down on Tuesday after being shared on social media by Alaskan aviation reporter Colleen Mondor. When contacted by Alaska Public Media about the video, McKinney said it was intended for Ravn Alaska employees and that he would release more details about the project later.

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Ravn Alaska has ten DHC-8-100s.

When asked about a possible timeframe, McKinney did not give a date, nor did he say how the airlines planned to raise the money needed to acquire the planes. He did, however, say that Ravn Alaska is confident that it can launch operations without having to take on too much debt.

Ravn Alaska
Ravn Alaska provides a lifeline to some of the state’s remotest communities. Image: Ravn Alaska

According to ch-aviation, with its headquarters at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC), Ravn Alaska operates ten DHC-8-100s. With its 37 seater aircraft, Ravn Alaska plays a vital role in flying to some of Alaska’s remotest communities. These include the Aleutian Island fishing town of Dutch Harbor and the Bering Sea island community of St. Paul.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ravn Alaska was not making any money and decided to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 5, 2020. The decision to stop operations resulted in all the airline’s employees being laid off and left dozens of communities in rural Alaska without any air service.

Ravn Alaska is owned by two entrepreneurs

What was left of the airline ended being purchased by a company founded by two California entrepreneurs called FLOAT Shuttle, a commuter service based in Los Angeles. FLOAT (fly over all traffic) Shuttle offers a subscription service that allows people to travel on daily flights between various general aviation airports in and around Los Angeles.  According to FLOAT Shuttle’s website, commuters can avoid driving in Los Angeles traffic for $1,250 per month.

FLOAT Shuttle
The founders of FLOAT Shuttle own Ravn Alaska. Photo: FLOAT

Ravn Alaska resumed charter operations after receiving approvals from the FAA to resume operations on October 14, 2020, and scheduled flights a month later. While Ravn Alaska plans to fly Boeing 757s might sound overly ambitious in the video, McKinney confirmed the airline’s commitment to Alaska, saying:

“Ravn’s “commitment to Alaska and our Alaskan communities has never been stronger.

“We are not going to diminish our commitment to our frequency or the level of service that we’re giving the communities that we have now.” 

What do you think about Ravn Alaska’s plan? Is it realistic? Please tell us what you think in the comments.

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