Ravn

Courtesy of Airflow

Ravn Alaska said it will buy 50 electric planes from the California-based company Airflow when they come onto the market. Airflow’s planes will use batteries instead of gas to power their engines.

But the company first has to finalize its aircraft design. Airflow CEO Marc Ausman said he hopes to have Airflow’s planes ready for service by 2025.

Avery Lill/KDLG

The Kenai City Council approved a resolution Wednesday that served two connected purposes: end the lease with the old Ravn Alaska and start a new lease with the new Ravn Alaska, now operated by FLOAT Shuttle, Inc.

FLOAT bought a large portion of Ravn’s assets for $8 million this summer, after Ravn filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Ravn, which was previously Alaska’s biggest rural air service, flew with the airlines Corvus and PenAir. FLOAT is based in Southern California.

Kenai City Attorney Scott Bloom said the resolution approved by the council did not stipulate any specific terms for Ravn’s terminated lease. Generally, it will allow the bankruptcy judge to reject Ravn’s ongoing lease with the Kenai Municipal Airport. Ravn will also pay the city its leases that are past due.

FLOAT Alaska

Out with the old Ravn, in with the new Ravn at the Kenai Airport sometime in September. Maybe.

At this week’s Kenai City Council meeting, city attorney Scott Bloom said he’s been speaking almost daily with bankruptcy attorneys for Ravn Air Group, which filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the spring. He's also speaking with the ownership of the company that bought a significant portion of Ravn’s assets — FLOAT Shuttle, Inc.

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

From a bird’s eye view, or maybe a pilot’s view, the Kenai Airport hasn’t changed much. The footprint is almost exactly the same, but to visitors arriving through that terminal, it’s a totally different place than two years ago.

The City of Kenai took on a comprehensive airport terminal overhaul starting in 2018. The terminal hadn’t had a serious remodel in decades. With about a $12 million price tag, the vast majority of the money came from the Federal Aviation Administration. A small match—about $1.5 million—came from the city.

Avery Lill/KDLG

RavnAir shut down operations and filed for bankruptcy in April after a steep drop in travel due to COVID-19, leaving a transportation hole in many regions of the state. Alaska Airlines is stepping into some communities to fill that void. 

The airline plans to provide year-round support to Dillingham and King Salmon. Alaska Air spokesperson Tim Thompson said the airline does not have a definite schedule yet but plans to gauge demand once they are able to take off.

“Those schedules could change, just like we do throughout other places in the state of Alaska where we might have a daily service during the summertime, because there’s so much demand,” Thompson said. “We may do every other day, or two-day service in the wintertime, but the goal is to be able to provide year-round service to the region.”