The COVID-19 pandemic-induced travel fears punctured the boom in air travel during the last two years, throwing the airline industry into crisis worldwide. With the grip of coronavirus slowly loosening its hold on air travel, there’s some semblance of normalcy returning to the air market. Once fallen victim to a dropping in air demand due to the pandemic crisis, Ravn Alaska Airlines has sprung up from the bottom and burst forth to grace the Alaskan skies with further plans for international expansion. Let’s learn more about the flying gem of Alaska-Ravn Alaska.
Background of Ravn Alaska Airlines
A staple for Alaskan communities, Ravn Alaska Airlines is a regional leader in the largest US state of Alaska, largely dependent on air transport. The legacy of Ravn Airlines goes back to 1948 when it was established as Economy Helicopters by Carl Brady. Since then, the carrier has seen various name changes, including Era Helicopters, Era Aviation, and Era Alaska, before finally being renamed Ravn Alaska.
Ravn Alaska Airlines is headquartered in Anchorage-the largest Alaskan city. It concentrates its traffic flow through its primary hub in Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and secondary hubs at Fairbanks International, Unalakleet Airport, Tom Madsen Airport, and Cold Bay Airport. The dependence of Alaska State on air travel highlights the importance of regional carrier Ravn Alaska in offering oodles of connecting flights to communities in rural Alaska. With a humble fleet of just 11 de Havilland turboprop-powered regional airliners, Ravn Alaska scoots travelers between major Alaska cities and off-the-track destinations throughout the state’s northern and western parts. Ravn Airlines is a leading airline in Alaska, providing scheduled passenger, cargo, and mail services to 13 cities and villages around the state and charter arrangements for travelers with unique destinations or time constraints.
During its nearly 75 years of operation, Ravn Alaska Airlines has endured several turbulent transitions in ownership and management. Despite facing several headwinds, the carrier has bounced back to carve a history in the aviation landscape. In addition to the 2004-2006 bankruptcy saga, Ravn Alaska filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy again in April 2020 as the COVID-19 crisis wrecked its bottom line. As the infection rates went haywire, air travel came to a standstill and slashed Ravn’s revenue, causing it to suspend its operations. The carrier reactivated its flight operations in November 2020 after FLOAT took control of the airline by purchasing it out of bankruptcy.
Emerging from bankruptcy, Ravn Airlines has made a stronger comeback than ever, aiming to be the top regional airline. Rob McKinney, the CEO of Ravn Alaska, and his partners retain control over the airline under new ownership after purchasing the Ravn Air Group’s assets in August 2020.
Ravn Alaska flights
The US state of Alaska relies heavily on air transport for regular connections, holiday getaways, and business travel purposes. Ravn Alaska is the lifeline of people in Alaska, providing regularly scheduled air service to rural Alaskan cities and communities. Ravn Alaska flights offer plenty of scope for commuting business types and allow Alaskans to maximize their limited time connecting with their family in other parts of the state. Ravn Airlines is the flying gem of Alaska State, providing much-need scheduled passenger and cargo service to people residing and visiting there.
Criss-crossing the skies a little closer to home, Ravn Airlines operates scheduled services to 13 communities in Alaska, including Anchorage, Dutch Harbor, Kenai, Homer, Valdez, Cold Bay, Sand Point, King Salmon, Unalakleet, Aniak, St. Mary’s, and St. Paul. Before the onset of the pandemic and the resultant bankruptcy, Ravn Alaska Airlines served more than 100 cities and communities around the state.
Last spring, the carrier offered three weekly scheduled flights between Anchorage and Dillingham but soon stepped out of service to Bristol Bay’s main travel hub, citing a lack of enough passenger booking. The Seattle-based Alaska Airlines is the only carrier operating daily services on the Anchorage-Dillingham route.
Regarding Ravn Alaska flights, the carrier also operates statewide charter services all year round using Dash 8 planes with a seating capacity of up to 37 passengers and a cargo capacity of 36000lbs. Ravn Airlines offers seasonal charter services for backcountry skiing adventures, bear viewing and bear hunting, and fishing trips. The non-seasonal charter solutions are available for corporate travel, sports teams, and guaranteed group travel.
The fleet of Ravn Alaska
The regional Alaskan carrier Ravn Airlines touts a fleet of 11 turboprops, including ten de Havilland DHC-8-100 and one de Havilland DHC-8-300. These petite jets offer a sense of Alaska during the flights as visitors get an authentic peek into Alaskan’s air-centric lifestyle. Ravn Airlines’ fleet of Dash 8-100s, which serves destinations around the Last Frontier, has an average age of 29 years and accommodates 37 passengers in a standard four-abreast 2×2 seating configuration. The latest addition to the airline fleet is Dash 8-300 which joined Ravn in July 2021. It is a 27-year-old airliner flying 50 passengers, 13 more than its other turboprop planes, to Unalaska and Kenai. Unlike its partners, Dash 8-300 aircraft can fly non-stop to Dutch Harbor.
Besides De-Havilland turboprops, Ravn Alaska has also operated a former fleet of Beechcraft 1900D, Cessna Caravan 208D, Cessna 207, Piper Navajo, Convair, etc.
Shortly, Ravn Airlines seeks to capitalize on the low operation strategy by adding 50 smaller electric-powered planes, which will also indicate its environmental stewardship to its eco-conscious customers. This new-generation, carbon-neutral eSTOL aircraft will improve operating economics for Ravn airlines and positively contribute to minimizing aviation’s carbon impact. Ravn Alaska seeks to deploy these innovative units to open up new destinations and offer a new way of delivering the best value and experience for Alaskans.
From nasty to nice
The COVID-19 crisis wasn’t friendly to Ravn Alaska as the carrier saw a 90% drop in revenue with the decrease in travel bookings. The travel downturn pushed Ravn airlines over the edge, and the carrier was forced to shut down its entire operation and file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The absence of Ravn Alaska flights turned bitter for people in rural Alaska as they became devoid of regularly scheduled air service. The resurrection of Ravn Airlines was a boon for Alaska as the carrier made a fresh start by operating scheduled flights and shipments to far-flung areas throughout the state.
The regional operator Ran Alaska is considering taking a big, bold leap into international operations with Boeing 757 flights to the lower 48 states and Asia. Calling the Boeing 757 service ‘Northern Pacific Airways,’ the carrier eyes non-stop passenger service between North America and Asia with a stopover at Ted Stevens Anchorage Airport. The startup carrier plans to commence operations this year, serving destinations such as Tokyo, Seoul, Orlando, Newark, Las Vegas, Oakland, Los Angeles, and San Francisco using former American Airlines Boeing 757-200 aircraft. The transpacific expansion of Ravn Airlines is set to make a promising initiative by offering precedent-low fares.
Ravn Alaska Cargo
In addition to passenger and charter services, Ravn Airlines generates revenue from the cargo stream and operates general and priority cargo services to/from Anchorage. Ravn Rush services for packages 100lbs or less are available all year round between Anchorage and Aniak, Cold Bay, Unalakleet, Dutch Harbor, Homer, St. Paul, Kenai, Sand Point, St. Mary’s, and Valdez. Ravn’s priority cargo and general cargo are loaded after Ravn Rush. Ravn Airlines charges 200% of the General Rate for live animals and human remains and 6.25% federal excise tax.
Ravn Airlines has secured a partnership with SeaTac-headquartered Alaska Airlines that enables travelers to book Ravn Alaska flights with Alaska Airlines miles. The mileage sharing agreement allows customers with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan to earn miles on Ravn flights and redeem them to purchase flights to/from any of Ravn’s 12 destinations. Travelers can reap the benefit of booking Ravn Alaska flights from Alaska Airlines’ website and use miles in Alaska’s Mileage Plan frequent-flyer program to purchase tickets.
Ravn Airlines has forged a business partnership with Planitas, the airline revenue analytics specialist, to improve the carrier’s sales performance and forecasting visibility. Analyzing the revenue intelligence across its Alaska and New Northern Pacific routes using ADAPTiv ABIS, Ravn seeks to make business-critical changes to revenue management strategies using real-time information on pricing, connections traffic, partnership contributions, and marketing operations. With a venture into new long-haul transpacific destinations, Ravn will collaborate with Planitas to improve its sales and revenue stream forecasting and make better-informed decisions and necessary changes.
Get the Alaskan experience.
As Alaska‘s hometown airline, Ravn flights offer the opportunity to experience Alaska from a decidedly local perspective while enjoying miles of wilderness views of small, rural Alaskan airports. The leading regional operator, Ravn, avails plenty of scope for commuting business types and allows travelers to explore the state out the windows of the small yet efficient Dash planes.