PC12 landing at Island Air’s Home base in Klawock in September 2018. (Photo courtesy of Heather Holt)

PC12 landing at Island Air’s Home base in Klawock in September 2018. (Photo courtesy of Heather Holt)

Regional airline cancels scheduled nonstop flights

Island Air Express no longer offering Petersburg-Juneau flight

There are now less scheduled options for flying around Southeast Alaska. Regional airline Island Air Express discontinued its scheduled daily service between Juneau and Petersburg.

After nine months of offering the scheduled flights, management of the Island Air Express determined there was not enough passenger demand to sustain the service, according to a press release.

“It was a very hard decision,” Island Air Express Director of Operations Scott Van Valin told the Empire via email. “We set this service up with everything in place to provide the most reliable, efficient and most importantly, safe service as possible.”

Van Valin said passenger levels would have had to have been 40 percent higher on average than what they were to make it work. The average price for the flight was $149, with online booking for $139.

Currently, Alaska Airlines offers daily nonstop flights from Juneau to Petersburg departing at 1:50 p.m. and from Petersburg to Juneau departing at 11:50 a.m. Prices for these flights start at $120 one way, and take about an hour.

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Island Air Express, which is based in Klawock, is still offering chartered flights to anywhere in Southeast Alaska and Canada, as well as its regularly scheduled nine-passenger flights daily between Ketchikan and Klawock (on the west coast of Prince of Wales island) that have been operating for 10 years. For nonstop options, fliers will have to look to chartered flights and Alaska Airlines.

The Island Air Express flight between Ketchikan and Klawock makes connections between Alaska Airlines easier, said Van Valin.

“We really hoped we could have been able to provide the same benefit to Petersburg, Ketchikan and Juneau,” he said.

He said Petersburg and Prince of Wales Island residents will be most affected, since they previously didn’t have any options to travel to Juneau and back in the same day until this service began. Prince of Wales residents would normally have to take a scheduled flight to Ketchikan, then get on the milk run to Juneau, which takes a little over six hours. The direct flight got residents to Juneau in an hour.

• Contact reporter Mollie Barnes at mbarnes@juneauempire.com or 523-2228.

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