PenAir is shutting down its freight service to Unalaska -- a move that will affect the island’s food delivery and fishing industry.
The regional air carrier has notified the city by email that it’s closing its cargo business between Unalaska and Anchorage, according to City Manager Dave Martinson and Mayor Frank Kelty.
Kelty said PenAir officials told him freight service has become a financial “loser” and they’re selling both cargo planes that serve the route.
Kelty has notified Unalaska’s seafood companies and the Safeway grocery store, which use PenAir to ship products on and off the island.
“A lot of our fresh produce -- and at times, meat and milk -- comes by air freight," Kelty said at Tuesday's City Council meeting. "This is big deal and people are scrambling.”
PenAir hasn’t responded to KUCB’s request for comment, but a statement on the carrier’s website says Unalaska’s freight service will end early this summer.
"Effective June 1, all PenAir freight service to/from Dutch Harbor will be permanently suspended," the statement reads. "We suggest that you drop your last shipment at our Cargo office no later than May 29 to ensure delivery. Thank you for all the years of your dedicated business."
The statement says PenAir will continue freight deliveries for Cold Bay, Dillingham, King Salmon, McGrath, Sand Point, St. George, and St. Paul.