It’s been almost three years since the Saab 2000 aircraft has flown from Anchorage to Dutch Harbor.
Starting Nov. 16, Aleutian Airways will begin nonstop service between Anchorage and Dutch Harbor using newly-painted Saab 2000s. Flights will be operated by Sterling Airways, a “part 121” U.S. air carrier. One-way fares start at $659 each way.
Initially, Aleutian Airways will offer one daily nonstop flight Monday-Friday.
The Saab 2000 aircraft was specially modified by Peninsula Airways “PenAir” to serve the Aleutian chain.
Following a fatal accident on Oct. 17, 2019, regular passenger service to Dutch Harbor ended. Ravn Alaska, the operator of the Saab 2000s at the time, eventually filed for bankruptcy and was liquidated.
Since then, a reorganized Ravn Alaska started flying a Dash-8-100 series aircraft, which often required a fuel stop between Dutch Harbor and Anchorage. Recently, Ravn Alaska upgraded its service to a Dash-8-300 series, which can fly the route nonstop. Cruising speed is about 330 miles per hour.
“Our independent analysis determined the Saab 2000 to be the most capable platform for operations to Unalaska/Dutch Harbor, and when flown by experienced flight crews—under PenAir’s original stringent experience requirements—Saab 2000 service can restore the standard of safety and reliability that PenAir had established when it was operating independently.” said Wayne Heller, President and CEO of Sterling Airways. “With a combination of experience, equipment and financial wherewithal, Aleutian Airways will be well positioned to be the premiere airline of Southwest Alaska.”
The Saab 2000 flies at more than 430 miles per hour.
“The aircraft will be flown by former PenAir Saab 2000 pilots, seasoned Alaska-based crews with deep experience in the flying conditions of Southwest Alaska. Further, Aleutian Airways will be re-instituting the PenAir pilot experience requirements for Dutch Harbor – bringing back industry-leading safety standards to the region. Many former PenAir employees have already signed on to join Aleutian, from pilots to mechanics, flight attendants and ground personnel,” according to a company press release.
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