The Kenai Municipal Airport is seen on Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The Kenai Municipal Airport is seen on Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Ravn to end service in Kenai

Ravn Alaska and the Kenai Municipal Airport confirmed Friday that the airline will discontinue its Kenai service starting later this month, with the last flights scheduled for Oct. 20.

The confirmation came a day after a post on Facebook was shared to various groups that read “As of Oct. 20, Ravn will no longer be flying to Kenai.”

That night, ticket sales for flights to and from Kenai were already unavailable after that date, with a prompt reading “No flights from (Kenai) to (Anchorage) on Oct. 21st.” The same message could be seen for every day following.

On Friday, the Clarion called Ravn Alaska’s general phone number after multiple requests for comment on Thursday and Friday were left unanswered. A representative of Ravn Alaska reached by phone spoke to the Clarion and read a prepared statement that said the move to cease operations in Kenai was an “operational consideration” that was “not made lightly.” It said that the demand for air travel in the Kenai market has declined and become “financially unsustainable.”

The statement ended with an expression of gratitude to residents for their support “over the years,” and said that they hope residents will continue to make use of their service in other areas of the state.

Information provided Friday by Interim Kenai Airport Manager Mary Bondurant showed that enplanements, the number of times people boarded flights at the airport, had sharply fallen in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but have climbed year over year since then.

In 2019, the Kenai Airport had seen around 95,000 enplanements, which was up 3% over 2018. When the pandemic began, that number fell all the way to around 32,000, but since climbed to around 68,000 in 2021 and 73,000 in 2022.

As of September, this year there have been around 55,000 enplanements at the airport.

Bondurant wrote that the airport will continue to have two scheduled airlines operating between Kenai and Anchorage in Grant Aviation and Kenai Aviation.

She said her successor will be working with Kenai’s city manager and city attorney to review the Airline Operating Agreement and “determine how this decision by Ravn will affect the Airport.”

Ravn Alaska came to Kenai in November of 2020, after the original RavnAir Group declared bankruptcy and laid off employees earlier that year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In August 2020, then-new CEO Rob McKinney said that COVID-19 wasn’t the only thing that forced the company into bankruptcy. He said that the new Ravn would be “a lot more customer-centric and friendly.”

Ravn described financial pressures last year. In September of 2022, Ravn Chief Commercial Officer Tina Hanley said that fuel costs had doubled and that labor costs had increased “60%.” That was the motivation, she said, behind introducing standard bag fees where previously they had been waived for Alaska residents with up to two bags.

Other than the prepared statement read by an operator at Ravn Alaska’s listed phone number, Ravn did not comment when reached multiple times ahead of publication.

For more information about Ravn Alaska, visit ravnalaska.com

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Travis Every, top left, speaks in support of fishing opportunity for the east side setnet fishery before the State Board of Fisheries at the Egan Convention Center in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Local fishers talk conservation, opportunity before Board of Fisheries in Anchorage

Local fishers from the Kenai Peninsula traveled to Anchorage this weekend to… Continue reading

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, presents information on a bill establishing a voluntary buyback program for Cook Inlet’s east side setnet fishery on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Bjorkman bill would pay bonuses to nationally certified teachers

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development estimates that the bonus program would apply to about 215 of Alaska’s estimated 7,315 teachers — about 3%

Alaska senators meet with members of the media to discuss education legislation after a press conference by Gov. Mike Dunleavy on the topic on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Dunleavy threatens veto of education bill if more of his priorities aren’t added

It is not certain there would be the 40 votes necessary to override a veto by the governor

A map displays a wide-ranging special weather statement, published Tuesday by the National Weather Service, covering Southcentral Alaska. (Map courtesy of National Weather Service)
Strong winds, low wind chills forecast through Friday

Wind chills over night may reach as low as -20 to -40 degrees in much of Southcentral

Snow falls atop the Central Peninsula Diabetes Center in Soldotna, Alaska, on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. The office opened in October, but a grand opening was held this week. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Central Peninsula Hospital adds Diabetes Center

The center has been seeing patients since October and held a grand opening Monday

Gary Hollier pulls a sockeye salmon from a set gillnet at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Findings from pilot setnet fishery study inconclusive

The study sought to see whether shorter nets could selectively catch sockeye salmon while allowing king salmon to pass below

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Kenai Peninsula COVID-19 case rate continues to climb

State reports three consecutive week-over-week increases to new high

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola delivers her annual address to the Alaska Legislature on Monday, in Juneau. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Peltola celebrates federal intervention in Albertsons, Kroger merger in legislative address

The one-term lawmaker said collaboration between stakeholders has helped produce wins for Alaska’s fisheries and the state’s economy

From left: Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, and Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, speak during an at-ease on debate on education legislation on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Senate concurs on House education bill, Dunleavy is skeptical

The governor’s office announced Dunleavy will hold a press conference Tuesday afternoon in Anchorage to discuss the legislation

Most Read