KUCB KIAL Unalaska Community Broadcasting

PENAIR

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

The head of PenAir fielded questions Thursday from frustrated flyers in Unalaska.

Thirty island residents gathered at a public meeting to ask CEO Danny Seybert why their only option for traveling to and from Anchorage has been so unreliable over the last year.

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

When Unalaska’s primary air cargo provider announced it was shutting down service this summer, community members were concerned.

People rely on PenAir’s cargo planes for most of their mail. Grocery stores depend on them for fresh produce, meat, and milk. And seafood companies count on them to ship products that sustain the local economy.

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

Unalaskans don’t have to worry about losing their mail service, according to officials with ACE Air Cargo.

The freight company has signed a contract with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver mail starting June 1.

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.

Chrissy Roes

In June, PenAir introduced a new type of aircraft to Unalaska, aiming to solve a longtime problem: Manufacturers don’t really make planes for this type of island.

Nine months later, the airline thinks it’s finally found the answer in the Saab 2000.

The high-speed turboprop has earned a 90 percent completion rate for flights between Unalaska and Anchorage.

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