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Opinion: It's Time To Remove Wrecked Aircraft From Unalaska Airport Runway Area

Courtesy of Frank Kelty

 KUCB occasionally features opinions and voices from our community. If you'd like to share an opinion on a local or regional issue, email

Opinions are submitted by community members and have not been edited.


Almost two years have passed since the tragic and unnecessary crash of Ravn/PenAir Flight 3296.The October 17, 2019, accident was not caused by the aircraft or the length of the runway. The crash took one life and injured ten more. Over one year ago, the LifeMed Alaska King Air made an emergency landing in Unalaska Bay with no loss of life due to a mechanical issue. I understand that the aircraft owners have a valid lease with the State of Alaska but does the traveling public at the Unalaska Airport have to be reminded daily up-close and personal of these tragedies? I think not. I call on the Unalaska mayor, city council, and administration to work with the State of Alaska to address it with the legislators and commissioners traveling to Unalaska in July for the Unalaska legislative fly-in.


The Unalaska airport is a small airport with only one runway. To have these wrecked aircraft being so close to takeoff and landings is unsettling to many Unalaskans and the traveling public at the airport. In a typical year, the Unalaska airport can have over 40,000 travelers pass through due to the large amount of fishing industry activity into the nation’s number one commercial fishing port. These aircraft are a distraction when driving on Airport Beach Road. The Ravn/Pen Air aircraft can be seen clearly from the road, and there appears to be a plane on the runway. I would hope there could be a way to move these planes to another more appropriate area off the main runway area or have them covered up for the benefit of the public and the airline companies that do business at the Unalaska airport.


Frank Kelty

Former 50-year Unalaska resident

Former Mayor of Unalaska

Consultant for Alaska Seaplanes Inc.