Aleutian Airways logo. Photo courtesy of Aleutian Airways

Aleutian airways to halt Homer service during runway project

Service will be suspended beginning April 15

Aleutian Airways will suspend service to Homer for the duration of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Homer Airport improvement project, beginning April 15.

Ravn Air confirmed on Friday, April 5 that they will continue providing service to Homer during the ongoing construction, except during scheduled full runway closures. Currently, full runway closures are expected April 16-20, July 16 and Oct. 8-10.

Wayne Heller, Aleutian Airways president and CEO, announced the company’s temporary closure in a statement released on Aleutian Airways’ Facebook page last Thursday, April 4. According to the statement, the service halt is due to the reduction of the Homer Airport runway from 150 feet wide to 50 feet wide, a configuration which falls under Aleutian Airways’ allowable operating parameters.

The runway was originally supposed to be reduced by half, from 150 feet wide to 75 feet wide. Aleutian Airways operates Saab 2000 airliners, which require a runway width of at least 75 feet to maintain safe operations, General Manager Brian Wilden told the Homer City Council during the public comment session at their March 26 regular meeting.

“The runway project, we knew about (it) when we started flying down here back in September,” Wilden told the council. “All the emails that I’ve had up until now, everything I’ve looked at on the state site about the runway construction project, has not shown that it’s going to be down to 50 feet, until March 10.”

After learning about the new runway width, Aleutian Airways worked to find a “viable solution” that would allow the company to maintain service in Homer during the project period, according to the release.

“Over the past few weeks, we’ve undergone relentless efforts to propose modifications to the Homer Airport construction plan,” Heller wrote. “Our team worked tirelessly, communicating with the city council, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Transportation in both Alaska and Washington D.C., as well as the Governor’s and both Senators’ offices … and awaited their answer.”

Aleutian Airways Director of Branding and Communication Ashley Hammers said in an April 4 email to Homer News that the company received final word from DOT that no changes will be made to the construction plan.

Heller stated in the release that all guests with flight bookings after April 15 will receive a full refund to facilitate alternative transportation arrangements.

“We extend our deepest gratitude for your unwavering support this past winter,” he wrote. “We remain committed to serving Homer and the beloved puffin will return. At that time, we hope to welcome you back.”

Find the full statement online at www.facebook.com/aleutianair/.

More information about the runway project and expected closures is available at www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/airport/dotpf-homer-airport-improvement-project-info.

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