A Wings Airways floatplane takes off from Juneau’s downtown harbor as the Norwegian Bliss leaves its port of call on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

A Wings Airways floatplane takes off from Juneau’s downtown harbor as the Norwegian Bliss leaves its port of call on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Wings Airways gets new investors, owners

Former Alaska Airlines executive now at the helm

Wings Airways is flying into a new era, with two former Alaska Airlines executives and others now at the controls.

Joe Sprague, formerly of Alaska Airlines, will become CEO of Wings Airways effective April 29, according to a release from Wings on Friday. Alongside Sprague in the new ownership group are: Bill Ayer, a former Alaska Airlines chairman and CEO; the Binkley family, longtime entrepreneurs in Alaska’s visitor agency and owners of the Anchorage Daily News among other endeavors; Bob Jacobsen, the founder of Wings’ predecessor company Wings of Alaska; current Wings leaders and shareholders President Holly Johnson, Michelle Johnson and Don Bach.

“We are tremendously excited about the blending of seasoned Wings team members with new leaders that have such extensive visitor industry and aviation backgrounds,” Holly Johnson, who has been the president since 2009 and will continue in that role, said in the release. “It is a team well positioned to lead Wings into its next chapter.”

[More than just pizza: Roma gets more stylish]

Wings Airways evolved from Wings of Alaska, an airline serving Southeast Alaska that was first formed in 1982. Wings Airways became a standalone operation in 2002, and employs more than 50 people during the summer season.

Sprague spent 17 years with Alaska Airlines where he most recently served as senior vice president of external relations. Since 2017, he has worked for the Washington State Catholic Conference.

Sprague actually got his aviation career started with Wings of Alaska 32 years ago as a customer service agent, and said he’s elated to come back to Juneau.

“Being able to work with the Wings team to build on a foundation of success, while working closely with local Juneau and visitor industry stakeholders, is an amazing opportunity,” Sprague said in the release.

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

More in News

This photo shows the National Archives in the Sand Point neighborhood of Seattle that has about a million boxes of generally unique, original source documents and public records. In an announcement made Thursday, April 8, 2021, the Biden administration has halted the sale of the federal archives building in Seattle, following months of opposition from people across the Pacific Northwest and a lawsuit by the Washington Attorney General's Office. Among the records at the center are tribal, military, land, court, tax and census documents. (Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)
Biden halts sale of National Archives center in Seattle

Tribes and members of Congress pushed for the halt.

This photo shows Unangax̂ Gravesite at Funter Bay, the site where Aleut villagers forcibly relocated to the area during World War II are buried. A bill recently passed by the Alaska House of Representatives would make the area part of a neighboring state park. (Courtesy photo / Niko Sanguinetti, Juneau-Douglas City Museum) 
Bill to preserve Unangax̂ Gravesite passes House

Bill now heads to the state Senate.

After over 30 years at 3100 Channel Drive, the Juneau Empire offices are on the move. (Ben Hohenstatt /Juneau Empire File)
The Juneau Empire is on the move

Advertising and editorial staff are moving to Jordan Creek Center.

The state announced this week that studded tires will be allowed for longer than usual. In Southeast Alaska, studded tires will be allowed until May 1 instead of April 15. (Dana Zigmund / Juneau Empire)
State extends studded tire deadline

Prolonged wintry weather triggers the change.

COVID at a glance for Friay, April 9

The most recent state and local numbers.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Court sides with Dunleavy in appointments dispute

The court, in a brief order, reversed a ruling by a superior court judge.

The Juneau Police Department are seeking Brenda Jay Gallant, 40, after she was indicted recently for her alleged role in a 2021 vehicle arson. (Courtesy photo / JPD)
Police seeking woman indicted for arson

The indictment for the August fire came this March.

Police calls for Friday, April 9, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read