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Expected At Council's Friday Session: More On City's Plan To Charter Flights

Laura Kraegel

After declaring a local emergency over Unalaska's lack of commercial air service, the City Council is holding another special meeting on Friday to discuss its plans to charter flights on behalf of the community.

At the session, City Manager Erin Reinders is expected to update councilors on efforts to acquire an emergency waiver from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). That would allow the city to start chartering as many as three flights per week — without too much more of a wait time.

"There are lots of DOT regulations associated with public charters," said Reinders. "That's going to take a heck of a lot of time for us to get through. But there's also something in those DOT regulations that allows for a waiver that just allows for the public charters to happen. That's what we need for this to actually work soon."

Local officials are eager to start chartering flights as early as next week because it's been two weeks since Ravn Air Group suspended regular service to and from Anchorage in the wake of a fatal plane crash.

The city is still exploring potential carriers and costs. But by Friday, Reinders said officials should have more information to share on charter pricing, as well as how the process will work for community members hoping to book seats.

"What's afforded to the community when we have commercial service is: You call a number and you're able to book a seat," she said. "What I'm trying to do is create a situation where we can do that — mimic as much as possible that commercial flight experience."

The City Council is meeting Friday, Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. at City Hall. Listen to the special session live on 89.7 FM, Channel 8 TV, or KUCB's online stream.

Laura Kraegel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2020. She was KUCB's news director starting in 2019. We are proud to have her back in the spring of 2023 filling in as an interim reporter for KUCB.
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