Just who the heck is this PenAir and what brings them to our community?
November 1st will mark another milestone in the 60 plus years of service for a “little-big” airline from Anchorage, Alaska called PenAir!
It was 1955, the year Orin Seybert, then just 18, flew his one-seater Taylorcraft aircraft from Seattle, Washington to Pilot Point, Alaska. The young Seybert’s parents were school teachers in this small village located in the Bristol Bay region of Southwest Alaska. Just by circumstance he started flying people from his new home to Dillingham, Alaska, the closest community offering health care. It was on one of his trips that a medical doctor greeted him and offered to assist him with “at least fuel for his aircraft” if he was going to continue to bring the sick to town. It was that conversation that started and formed this “little-big” airline.
In those sixty plus years the company has continued to grow into a multi-million dollar operation. With over 600 employees, PenAir offers scheduled air transportation service throughout Southwest Alaska as well as the Aleutian chain. In 2012 it opened a hub in Boston, Massachusetts operating throughout Northern Maine & New York. Portland, Oregon was next on the Company’s list, offering service between the Rose City and Southern Oregon and Northern California. And, on September 15, 2016 it opened a hub in Denver, Colorado, beginning its Midwest service to Liberal & Dodge City, Kansas. In November they will expand their service out of Denver to three points in Nebraska. The company also operates a freight service operation in Alaska as well as a turn service for major carriers on the East CoastThe Company’s roots were based on compassion and caring and that still carries on today. They are committed to the communities they serve and you will find them involved in many programs through the communities they live and work in.
The Company’s expansion and growth, for the most part, is greatly due to the Department of Transportation’s Essential Air Service (EAS) subsidy program. The EAS program was enacted and put into place to guarantee that small communities that were served by certified air carriers before airline deregulation maintain a minimal level of schedule air service. Most of these communities are of perfect size for the number of seats needed for air transportation service.
PenAir operates Saab 340 turbo prop aircraft in their “lower 48” markets while servicing some of their routes in Alaska utilizing the Saab 2000. Both aircraft operate with three crew members (two flight crew members and one flight attendant). Although the stage length for most routes throughout the continental U.S. are less than two hours, the airline also offers a snack service, complete with a variety of juices, coffee and water.
To sign up for PenAir’s e-news or to explore routes, fares, schedules and deals, visit www.penair.com.