Ravn Alaska

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Ravn Alaska
Ravn-logo.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
7H RVF RAVN FLIGHT
Commenced operations1948 (as Economy Helicopters)
AOC #7C7A855N[1]
HubsAnchorage
Fleet size11
Parent companyFLOAT Alaska
HeadquartersAnchorage, Alaska, United States
Key peopleRob McKinney (CEO)
Tom Hsieh (President)
Jim Day (CFO)
Employees400+
Websiteravnalaska.com

Corvus Airlines d.b.a. Ravn Alaska is a regional airline that specializes in serving the small communities in the US state of Alaska. The airline is headquartered in Anchorage,[2] which is also home to its primary hub, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

Ravn Alaska currently serves 13 communities in Alaska including:

  • Anchorage
  • Dutch Harbor/Unalaska
  • Kenai
  • Homer
  • Valdez
  • Cold Bay
  • Sand Point
  • King Salmon
  • Dillingham
  • Unalakleet
  • Aniak
  • St. Mary's
  • St. Paul
Ravn Dash 8 300 in Dutch Harbor Unalaska

Corvus Airlines operates all of its flights using the Ravn Alaska brand. The company pronounces its name Ravn like the bird, Raven.

Ravn has a partnership with Alaska Airlines, allowing passengers to book interlineing flights and allowing passengers on most Ravn flights to earn miles in Alaska's Mileage Plan frequent-flyer program.

History[edit]

Corvus Airlines traces its roots to 1948 and the founding of Economy Helicopters. The company was founded by Carl Brady; he flew the first commercial helicopter to Alaska to work on a mapping contract for the U.S. government. In the years that followed, Economy Helicopters renamed itself Era Helicopters (now apart of Bristow Group).

Dash 8 300 in Ravn Alaska hangar.

In 1967, Houston based Rowan Companies, purchased the company from the founder.[3]

Most of its business was supporting offshore oil drilling. Era's helicopters also supported the efforts to build the Alyeska Pipeline. During construction of the pipeline, the company started its fixed-wing division, based on DeHaviland Twin Otter and Convair 580 aircraft.[4]

Ravn Alaska's ticket counter at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport

After the construction of the pipeline, Era saw an opportunity to expand to scheduled passenger service, which they introduced in May 1983. The Convair planes were used for service to Valdez, Kenai, Kodiak, Cordova, and Homer. The Twin Otter fleet was based out of Bethel and operated service to many of the small communities surrounding it.

In 1988, Era Helicopters formally changed its name to Era Aviation, and changed structure and creating a division, still known as Era Helicopters, now apart of Bristow Group, alongside Era Aviation.

The company endured a very turbulent transition between December 2004 and December 2006, which saw two changes in ownership, the spinoff of the Era Helicopters division (on July 1, 2004), and the company entering (in very late 2005) and emerging from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.[5]

Era Aviation plane landing at ANC.jpg

In early 2009, HoTH Inc., the holding company that owned Hageland Aviation Services and Frontier Flying Service, purchased Era Aviation.[5] However, Era Helicopters was not part of the acquisition (having left common ownership on July 1, 2004, when both were under SEACOR ownership).[6] In October 2009, HoTH Inc. also acquired Arctic Circle Air Service, a local cargo airline.[7] The combined air group rebranded itself as Era Alaska, taking advantage of Era's recognizable name.[8]

In January 2014, the companies were renamed once again in what the company says was an effort to decrease confusion and distinguish it from other companies that are named Era,[9] including the former division and original operation of predecessor Era Aviation, then known as Era Helicopters/Era Group, which at this time was a publicly trading independent company.[6] The combined air group Era Alaska was renamed Ravn Alaska,[10] Era Airlines was renamed Corvus Airlines,[11] and while Hageland Aviation Services and Frontier Flying Service would keep their names, they both began operating as Ravn Connect.[12]

In August 2016, the New York-based J.F. Lehman and Co. acquired a majority stake in Ravn. The remaining shares were retained by Bob Hajdukovich, then CEO of the company.[10]

Ravn Alaska purchased all of the aircraft and other owned assets of Yute Air on March 5, 2017, as the latter shutdown, and took over the Yute Air routes.[13]

In January 2018, Ravn Alaska received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to put in place a safety management system similar to those implemented by larger airlines across the USA.[14][15]

Pandemic shutdown and Chapter 11 bankruptcy[edit]

On April 5, 2020, in the midst of travel disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ravn shut down its entire operation, laid off all staff, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[16][17][18][19]

The leadership of the North Slope Borough attempted to take possession of the airline's assets in order to maintain flights and shipments to their rural communities, but the Alaska Attorney General said that they did not have authority for this action.[20] The sudden stoppage of all operations stranded dozens of communities in rural Alaska, leaving them without regularly scheduled air service. Wright Air Service and other small air carriers have been performing air service on a charter flight basis.[citation needed]

At the bankruptcy auction in July 2020, the Ravn Connect part 135 airlines was sold in pieces to other airlines of Alaska. The part 121 airlines Ravn Alaska and PenAir were sold to FLOAT Shuttle, a commuter service based in Los Angeles.[21]

Resumption of operations[edit]

On October 14, 2020, Ravn Alaska received approvals from the FAA to resume operations. On November 13, 2020, while awaiting approval from the US Department of Transportation authority for scheduled operations, the airline resumed service to Dutch Harbor (Unalaska), Homer, Kenai, Sand Point, and Valdez using Public Charters managed by “Ravn Travel”. Each market was served 4 days a week from Anchorage.[22] On November 30 scheduled route authority was received from the US Department of Transportation, and the airline resumed scheduled flights to and from Anchorage, Dutch Harbor (Unalaska), Homer, Kenai, Kodiak, and Sand Point under the name Ravn Alaska.[23][24]

In 2021, Ravn Alaska's parent company announced plans to launch Northern Pacific Airways, a new low-cost airline that would fly passengers between North America and Asia via a stopover at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. The new airline is planned to commence operations in 2022 using Boeing 757 aircraft.[25]

Fleet[edit]

The Ravn Alaska fleet includes the following aircraft:

Ravn Alaska fleet
Aircraft Number Seats Notes
de Havilland DHC-8-100 10 29–37 9 Corvus Airlines
de Havilland DHC-8-300 1[26] 50 Delivered July 3, 2021
Total 11

Formerly operated[edit]

Destinations[edit]

Previously Ravn Alaska offered scheduled service to over 100 Alaskan cities and communities.[27] Currently Ravn Alaska serves 13 communities as well as providing statewide charter service.[28]

Media appearances[edit]

Beginning on January 14, 2011, Discovery Channel's Flying Wild Alaska showcased Era Alaska's daily operations. It aired until July 20, 2012, totaling 31 episodes over three seasons.[29]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • November 8, 1997 – Hageland Aviation Flight 500 was a Cessna Caravan 675B which crashed. After the NTSB report, investigators determined there were multiple causes of the crash, including icing, weight imbalance and pilot error.[30] The accident killed all 8 passengers and crew on board.
  • December 9, 2002 – During a Raytheon Pre-purchase Flight, a Beechcraft 1900C crashed after running into a mountain in western Arkansas. The accident killed all 3 pilots on board, including Ron Tweto, President of Hageland Aviation Services.
  • November 29, 2013 – Four people were killed when Flight 1453 crashed near the village of St. Mary's. Among the fatalities were the pilot, Terry Hanson, 68, and three residents of Mountain Village: Rose Polty, 57, Richard Polty, 65, and Wyatt Coffee, five months old. Six more passengers were injured. The flight originated from Bethel.[31]
  • August 31, 2016 – A Ravn Connect Cessna 208B Grand Caravan EX collided with a Renfro's Alaskan Adventures Piper Super Cub during a flight from Russian Mission Airport to Marshall Airport in Alaska. The five people on board the two aircraft lost their lives.[32]
  • October 2, 2016 – Three people were killed when a Ravn Alaska Cessna 208B crashed near Togiak, Alaska. There were no survivors.[33]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Federal Aviation Administration - Airline Certificate Information - Detail View". av-info.faa.gov. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  2. ^ "Contact Us". Ravn Air. Retrieved April 11, 2020. RavnAir Group 4700 Old International Airport Road Anchorage, AK 99502
  3. ^ "Parent firm considers selling Era Aviation". Retrieved October 23, 2021.
  4. ^ "Ravn Alaska History" (PDF). Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  5. ^ a b White, Bill (February 17, 2009). "Rivals to acquire Era Aviation". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Mondor, Colleen (January 4, 2014). "Era Alaska rebranding itself as Ravn Alaska". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  7. ^ Saul, Joshua (October 14, 2009). "HoTH buys Arctic Circle Air Service". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  8. ^ "HoTH Inc. Announces Rebranding OF Air Carrier Group". Alaska Business. December 1, 2009. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  9. ^ "Era Alaska renames itself Ravn Alaska". Juneau Empire. January 3, 2014. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  10. ^ a b McMurren, Scott (August 6, 2015). "Ravn Alaska sells majority stake to Outside private equity firm". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  11. ^ Grove, Casey (January 2, 2014). "Era's 'family of airlines' re-brands". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  12. ^ Matheson, Ben (January 7, 2014). "Era Alaska Changes Name To Ravn Alaska". Alaska Public Media. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  13. ^ Demer, Lisa (March 6, 2017). "Yute sold planes and hangar to Ravn before it closed up". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  14. ^ Taylor, Victoria (January 14, 2018). "Ravn Alaska's safety management system gets FAA approval". KTUU. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  15. ^ "FAA Approves Ravn Alaska's Safety Management System". Aviation Tribune. January 16, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  16. ^ Trainer, Lex, "Ravn to end all service, layoff all staff and file for bankruptcy", Alaska Public Media April 5, 2020
  17. ^ "RavnAir ceases all operations, lays off staff due to COVID-19 pandemic".
  18. ^ "Ravn suspends air service, including mail deliveries, to most rural Alaska communities".
  19. ^ Williams, Tess (April 5, 2020). "RavnAir Group files for bankruptcy, stops flights and lays off remaining staff due to COVID-19". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  20. ^ "Attorney general: North Slope Borough can't seize Ravn assets". Associated Press. April 8, 2020. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  21. ^ "Southern California company will take over some RavnAir service after bankruptcy auction". adn.com. July 10, 2020. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  22. ^ "Ravn Alaska will resume flights to six communities Friday". November 12, 2020.
  23. ^ https://ravnalaska.com/
  24. ^ "Ravn Alaska - We call Alaska home".
  25. ^ Pallini, Thomas (August 8, 2021). "A new airline wants to connect the US and Asia with low fares and Alaskan stopover programs: Meet Northern Pacific Airways". Business Insider. Retrieved November 1, 2021.
  26. ^ https://mobile.twitter.com/RavnAlaska/status/1412565228890378242[bare URL]
  27. ^ "Destinations". Ravn Alaska. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  28. ^ "Destinations". Ravn Alaska.
  29. ^ "Discovery Shows – Watch Now for FREE!". dsc.discovery.com. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  30. ^ "NTSB report: Fatal 1997 crash caused by ice, weight imbalance". JuneauEmpire.com. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  31. ^ "4 killed, including baby, in western Alaska crash". Alaska Dispatch News. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  32. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Cessna 208B Grand Caravan EX N752RV Russian Mission Airport, AK (RSH)". aviation-safety.net. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  33. ^ Boots, Michelle (October 2, 2016). "Troopers: 3 dead in crash of small plane in Southwest Alaska". Alaska Dispatch News. Retrieved October 3, 2016.

External links[edit]