Facing Criticism Over Flight Suspension, Ravn And Alaska Airlines To Host Community Meeting

Nov 14, 2019

Ravn Air Group plans to restart Unalaska's regular flights to and from Anchorage on Nov. 14, using DeHavilland Dash 8 aircraft instead of the Saab 2000. The Saab served the route between 2016 and a fatal plane crash on Oct. 17.
Credit Laura Kraegel/KUCB

Updated 11/15/19 at 12 p.m.

Ravn Air Group and Alaska Airlines are planning to hold a public meeting in Unalaska amid intense community criticism over their handling of air service in the wake of last month's fatal plane crash.

"Ravn Air does plan on coming out and having a community meeting during early December," said City Manager Erin Reinders on Tuesday. "The first two weeks is what they've told me they're working with."

On Friday, the City of Unalaska released a statement that "representatives of both airlines" are now planning to host the in-person meeting. 

Ravn officials have called in to two City Council meetings since the Oct. 17 crash, while Alaska reps have called in to one. 

After the accident, Ravn suspended all regular flights to and from Anchorage until they could certify the DeHavilland Dash 8 as a new temporary aircraft and perform unspecified safety checks on the Saab 2000.

Neither Ravn nor Alaska Airlines has responded to KUCB's requests for further information and interviews. Alaska has long marketed Unalaska's route, setting prices and selling tickets on behalf of Ravn and PenAir.

Before it was announced that Alaska Airlines would participate in the December meeting, City Councilor Dave Gregory proposed that city officials initiate their own meeting at Alaska's headquarters in Seattle.

"I think it's important that we show up in their offices and we show them that we're serious," said Gregory. "We need help from them to solve this crisis."

Unalaska has gone about one month without regular flights. While many travelers paid for seats on pricey charters, the suspension has also led to family separations, as well as missed work, medical appointments, vacations, and more.

Last month, the City of Unalaska declared a local emergency over the lack of commercial air service. Now, officials are exploring options for legal action against the airlines.  

Meanwhile, regular flights resumed Thursday, Nov. 14, though travelers still have a number of unanswered questions about existing tickets, future reservations, and mileage programs.