Homer may see new airline come to town this year. Peninsula Airways, better known as PenAir, hopes to lease space at the Homer Airport this summer and begin offering flights by the fall.
The Homer City Council approved a resolution Tuesday that allows the city to negotiate with the airliner. The resolution calls for a 26-month lease and roughly $38,000 annually to lease space for a ticket office and baggage area.
PenAir entered into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August of 2017 in order to restructure the company, dropping service in Portland and Denver while maintaining flights in Alaska and on the East Coast.
PenAir Senior Vice President of Ground Operations Murphy Forner said expanding to Homer may be part of that restructuring.
“PenAir is hopeful that we are coming out of bankruptcy in the third quarter of this year and we’re eyeing September as the date for that to happen,” he said. “That would make a really good time to offer new service if we were going to do that.”
Forner wasn’t able to offer up many details such as ticket prices or the number of flights per day, but he said prices would be competitive with the sole airliner operating out of Homer, Ravn Alaska.
Forner did say PenAir would offer flights on its Saab 340 aircraft between Homer and Anchorage if the deal goes through.
“You should know mid-June whether or not we’re able to commit,” Forner explained. “That’s what we’ve asked the City of Homer to be prepared [for], to lease to us starting the first of July – so, we can have a couple of months to have the area ready for us so we can stage equipment and be ready to provide service.”
Forner said PenAir hopes to begin service in September. The airliner currently serves seven communities in Southwestern Alaska and offers flights out of Anchorage.