Joel Caldwell shows off the new Tecnam Traveller on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. Kenai Aviation has since added two more Tecnam Travellers to its fleet. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Joel Caldwell shows off the new Tecnam Traveller on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. Kenai Aviation has since added two more Tecnam Travellers to its fleet. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Aviation adds 3rd plane to commuter service, readies for busy summer schedule

Kenai Aviation plans to increase its schedule to include 18 flights a day running seven days a week

Kenai Aviation has added a third Tecnam Traveller to its fleet, joining two others that shoulder the group’s scheduled commuter service, according to a release from the manufacturer Friday.

Kenai Aviation President Jacob Caldwell said Monday that bringing on the third plane prepares the airline for the oncoming busy summer months, the first such season since Ravn Alaska pulled out of the Kenai Municipal Airport in October.

During summer, Kenai Aviation plans to increase its schedule to include 18 flights a day running all seven days a week. There will be two planes in active use at any given time, while the third is on standby and can be maintained. Caldwell said that strategy will allow the airline to maintain reliable service for passengers.

“We’re excited to continue to serve our hometown community,” he said.

In September 2022, only weeks before launching the commuter service, Kenai Aviation owner Joel Caldwell said their then-new Tecnam Traveller is perfectly suited to their needs. He was proud to say that their aircraft was the first of its kind to see use in Alaska and the first west of the Mississippi River.

The Tecnam Traveller has 11 seats, including pilots, each with USB charging ports. It features space for luggage in the rear and the nose.

According to the release from Tecnam, Kenai Aviation has used the Travellers over two years of commuter service — the first with one plane and the second with two — to ferry roughly 28,000 passengers across nearly 8,000 flights and 5,000 flight hours.

Addition of a third aircraft, the release says, “allows Kenai Aviation to boost frequencies and better serve the local Alaskan communities.”

Joel says in the release that the planes have “exceeded our expectations.”

For more information, or to purchase tickets for the commuter service, visit kenaiaviation.com.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at peninsulaclarion.com.

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