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PenAir is headed to the auction block Wednesday — more than a year after the southwest Alaska airline filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Court and company officials have declined to name the prospective buyers that submitted bids last week, but residents say they're hoping for more reliable service.

Lauren Divine has had a lot of "unfortunate" experiences flying PenAir.

"With customer service, reservations, flights being delayed and canceled," she said.

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Citing a nationwide pilot shortage, PenAir is reducing its flights to St. Paul Island and Dillingham.

Starting Oct. 1, the airline will fly between St. Paul and Anchorage three times per week instead of four — and between Dillingham and Anchorage two times per day instead of three.

"PenAir initiated a strong recruitment campaign several months ago and continue to hire and train as quickly and safely as possible," said company officials in a written statement. "We are confident we will be able to resume our schedule once our crew numbers permit."

Chrissy Roes

One of southwest Alaska's largest airlines will soon be up for sale.

A federal judge has ordered PenAir be auctioned off this October — more than a year after the company filed for bankruptcy protection.

The carrier is promising residents of the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands that their only connection to Anchorage won't just vanish.

The Seybert family founded Alaska-grown PenAir in 1955, and they still own it today.

The company includes 430 employees, 10 airplanes, and eight routes across Bristol Bay, the Alaska Peninsula, and the Aleutian chain.

Pipa Escalante/KUCB

After filing for bankruptcy protection last summer, PenAir has been ordered to sell off its assets to avoid a shutdown.

A federal judge has scheduled the auction for early October, following an emergency motion by the trustee appointed to oversee the airline's bankruptcy proceedings.

In the motion filed Wednesday, Trustee Gerard McHale argued for the "expedited sale schedule" in light of PenAir's "quickly deteriorating cash position."

PenAir

 

PenAir has canceled all flights to the Pribilof Islands for the rest of the month.

In a letter to community leaders, PenAir's Murphy Forner, senior vice president of ground operation and business development, wrote that the airline needs to conduct maintenance on its aircraft.

Forner said PenAir has already reached out to customers and made "other arrangements" for them.

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