Grant Aviation’s new flight service to Atka and Nikolski got off to a smooth start on Monday. The airline is taking over the routes from PenAir, which served the communities for more than a decade.
Residents hope that the new airline will bring more reliable service. In 2011, PenAir completed only half of its scheduled flights to Nikolski and two-thirds to Atka. Grant Aviation’s chief operations officer, Austin Engebretson says his company will do better.
“There’s going to be weather delays out there because it is the Aleutian Chain, it is some of the gnarliest weather in the world, but when we do get those windows when we can go, we will go. It won’t be days on end before we get into these airports again. There won’t be thousands of pounds of mail stacked up in Dutch Harbor waiting to go. I anticipate us having a pretty steady flow of flights into these airports.”
Grant will fly three times a week to Atka and two to Nikolski using a 9-seat King Air. That’s the same schedule as PenAir and tickets are roughly the same price – $610 roundtrip to Atka and $330 roundtrip to Nikolski. Engebretson says Grant will eventually have a local phone number, but for now reservations can be made by calling the airline’s 1-800 number, which is available on their website, www.flygrant.com.