RavnAir Group canceled all flights to Kodiak effective Thursday, according to Emergency Services Council Chair Mike Tvenge. The company previously offered numerous daily flights between Anchorage and Kodiak.
The airline announced Thursday that they would be reducing their flying operation by 90% and shrinking their operation fleet from 30 to three aircraft to “minimize expenses and maintain service” to “Essential Air Service communities.”
Ravn will continue serving Kenai, Homer, Valdez, King Salmon, Dillingham, St. Paul, Aniak, St. Mary’s, McGrath and Unalakleet. The decision came after the company experienced a 90% reduction in passenger revenue bookings, according to a news release.
Ravn was also responsible for transporting Kodiak’s daily mail delivery for the U.S. Postal Service from Anchorage to the island. Kodiak post office manager Richie Barton said Thursday afternoon that he still didn’t know how the postal service would address the sudden loss of Ravn’s flights, as meetings in Anchorage were ongoing. On Thursday, mail was delivered to Kodiak using a cargo airline, but Barton said that solution may be temporary.
“We were caught a little by surprise,” said David Rupert, a spokesperson for USPS. “We spent all day looking at those connections and working with alternate providers. We have the vast majority of routes covered, so there should be minimal impact.”
Rupert did not have specific information about which air carrier would provide service to Kodiak.
“It’s going to take us a couple of days to put everything together, but our goal is to have a seamless transition, so I would expect for there to be very minimal service interruptions to Kodiak, and when everybody goes and opens their mailbox, the mail is there and no one will know the difference,” Rupert said.
Alaska Airlines, the only other airline providing commercial service between Kodiak and Anchorage, reduced their flight schedule to one flight per day on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, according to the Alaska Airlines website.
The changes come days after Gov. Mike Dunleavy banned non-essential travel within the state on March 27. The mandate is set to be evaluated by April 11, according to the governor.
The Alaska Marine Highway System has canceled all sailings to and from Kodiak until May 31, according to Tvenge. However, the system was still accepting reservations for all Tustumena sailings after May 15, as of Thursday afternoon.