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Ravn sells off dozens of small planes to Alaska companies

was written by Nathaniel Herz, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Anchorage , 2020-07-07 23:30:17

be sure to visit their website, source link is at the end of the article

Ravn Alaska prepares to board a de Havilland Dash 8 for a flight from Dillingham and King Salmon to Anchorage. (Avery Lill/ KDLG)

The bankrupt RavnAir Group sold off dozens of its small planes to several Alaska aviation companies at auction Tuesday, but Ravn’s largest planes and most valuable airline operating certificates won’t be sold until Wednesday.

At Tuesday’s auction, run by a Ravn bankruptcy attorney on the Zoom videoconferencing platform, the company sold 15 of its Cessna planes for $10 million to Grant Aviation, which serves the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Bristol Bay and the Aleutian Islands.

Four more Cessnas went to Fairbanks-based Wright Air Service, which also bought Ravn buildings and equipment in Fairbanks, the North Slope communities of Utqiagvik and Deadhorse and the Yukon River village of Galena, paying a total of $12.8 million.

Ravn sold 14 more Cessna planes to Bethel-based Yute Commuter Service for some $1.5 million. Yute also bought two of Ravn’s buildings, in Bethel and another hub community, St. Mary’s.

And Ravn sold its Beechcraft fleet — which the company says includes eight planes — for $5 million to Anchorage-based ACE Air Cargo.

Ravn is $90 million in debt and could be forced to shut down for good, court docs say

The winning bids must still be approved by a federal bankruptcy judge at a hearing Thursday.

And still on the block when the auction resumes Wednesday morning are 10 of Ravn’s larger planes: Nine de Havilland DASH-8s and a Saab 340.

Those planes will be sold with the federal operating certificates for two of Ravn’s three airlines, PenAir and Corvus Airlines, which operated the company’s flights between Anchorage and larger hub communities on the Kenai Peninsula, and in the Aleutian Islands and other areas of rural Alaska.

The smaller planes sold Tuesday were generally used for shorter flights between those hub communities and smaller, remote villages. Those flights were operated by Ravn’s third airline, Hageland Aviation.

Ravn was Alaska’s largest rural air service before the COVID-19 pandemic forced it into bankruptcy earlier this year. With Tuesday’s sale of the planes, the fate of the company is unknown; spokeswoman Debbie Reinwand and Chief Executive Officer Dave Pflieger did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

One of the companies that bought some of Ravn’s planes said it plans to use them largely to bolster existing service that it offers in Southwest Alaska.

Yute Commuter Service currently owns 12 planes, said co-owner Wade Renfro, and will more than double its fleet with the purchase of the 14 new Cessnas. The company intends to offer more frequent service to its existing destinations in the region, which was also served by Ravn before the bankruptcy.

“We can pick up some of the slack that will be left after COVID runs its course and people are back to traveling on a regular basis,” he said. “It’ll keep the villages from seeing any real interruption of service.”

Renfro’s companies have been involved in several accidents in the past year. But he said Yute is small enough to keep a “huge emphasis on safety,” and plans to put the new planes into service slowly, rather than all at once.

“It’s going to be a slower growth process,” he said.

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A Vacation In Alaska, the 49th State

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Tongass National Forest. The Tongass is actually the biggest national forest within the United States. It acquired it’s name from the Tongass Clan of the Tlingit native people and dates back to 1902 when President Theodore Roosevelt created the Alexander Archipelago Forest Reserve. In 1908 the forest was re-named and expanded and at present the 16.9 million-acre Tongass National Forest extends from the Pacific ocean to the huge inland ice fields that edge British Columbia and from the southern tip of Prince of Wales Island to Malaspina Glacier five hundred miles to the north. About 80 percent of Southeast Alaska is in Tongass and with it’s thousands of islands, fjords and bays the national forest offers 11,000 miles of shoreline. Tongass’ enormous coastal rain forest consists of towering hemlock, spruce and red and yellow cedar. The undergrowth underneath themassive conifers is composed of young evergreens and shrubs such as devil’s club, blueberry and huckleberry. Moss and ferns cover the ground, and lichens drape many trees and rocks.

Wildlife is plentiful all through Tongass. Sitka blacktail deer and its two main predators, wolf and brown bear, are located here. Black bear are common as well as mountain goats and some moose. Marine mammals seen along the coast line include Dall and harbor porpoises, seals and humpback, minke and orca whales and a thriving population of sea otters. The waters teem with fish such as halibut and all 5 species of Pacific salmon. More bald eagles stay in this area than in any other spot in the world. Though the place to find the world’s main temperate rain forest, practically fifty percent of Tongass is covered by ice, water, wetlands and rock. It’s most well-known ice floe is the Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska’s “Drive-in glacier” since it is just thirteen miles from downtown Juneau along a paved road. A boat ride through Petersburg or Wrangell can bring a person near the face of LeConte Glacier, the southernmost tidewater glacier on the continent. Just 30 miles north of Yakutat is Hubbard Glacier, the longest tidewater glacier in the world and easily Alaska’s most active. The 76-mile-long glacier has crossed Russell Fjord several times, lately in 2008. The rip tides and currents that flow in front of the 8-mile-wide glacier are so strong they trigger Hubbard to calve almost continuously. The Tongass contains nineteen wilderness areas, including the 545-sq-mile Russell Fjord Wilderness, as well as Admiralty Island National Monument and Misty Fiords National Monument. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and the general area around Haines and Skagway aren’t part of the national forest.

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Seeing Tongass National Forest in the State of Alaska