PenAir requests subsidy to sustain market in Pribilof Islands

(Pipa Escalante/KUCB)

The only air carrier for the Pribilof Islands is asking for financial support to keep its remote market afloat.

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PenAir has requested the U.S. Department of Transportation subsidize flights to St. Paul and St. George Islands, which are guaranteed Essential Air Service.

Spokesperson Missy Roberts said PenAir wants to continue serving the Pribilofs, which it’s done for almost 60 years. But she said the company needs help after filing for bankruptcy protection earlier this month.

If the DOT subsidizes the routes, other airlines will be allowed to bid on them. Roberts said PenAir officials hope to win the contract with community support.

While that process plays out, service to St. Paul and St. George will continue as usual. Customers can still book flights, and existing reservations will not be affected.

PenAir has made the same subsidy request for its McGrath route.

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Laura Kraegel covers Unalaska and the Aleutian Islands for KUCB . Originally from Chicago, she first came to Alaska to work at KNOM, reporting on Nome and the Bering Strait Region. ( / 907.581.6700)

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