AM 890 and Serving the Kenai Peninsula
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Grant to double flight capacity from Kenai with two new planes

A Grant Aviation aircraft at the Kenai Municipal Airport.
Riley Board
A Grant Aviation aircraft at the Kenai Municipal Airport.

Grant Aviation has purchased two new planes, which it will use to increase flight offerings between Kenai and Anchorage, according to an announcement from the company today.

Grant has purchased two Cessna 208B EX Grand Caravans to expand capacity. The first plane will begin service on Monday, March 4, and the next one will arrive soon.

The airline increased its Kenai operations when Ravn Alaska pulled out of the airport suddenly in October. Grant Vice President Dan Knesek said that change increased demand for his airline.

“When you have an air carrier that has anywhere from 55 to 60% of the market share and they stop service, that’s 55 to 60% of the market share that’s gonna need to be covered,” he said. “So we knew that demand was there, and we knew we needed to go and get some aircraft, because we did not have the extra capacity in our fleet at the time to meet that demand.”

Knesek said service will ramp up even further as the busier summer season approaches.

Ravn credited a pilot shortage for its reduction of routes; Knesek said the shortage has been hard for years, but Grant has focused on frequent training programs to bring in new pilots.

The increased flights will also mean new ground crew hires in both Kenai and Anchorage.

“In a sense, we’re gonna be doubling our operations at both Kenai and in Anchorage, the number of flight operations we do in a day, once all four aircraft are fully in service and we’re getting into peak season," Knesek said. "So we’re gonna end up having to double our workforce.”

This new announcement comes just days after Ravn laid off 130 employees and announced reduced flights to the communities where it still flies.

The Kenai Municipal Airport is also served by local Kenai Aviation, which increased its flights last fall.

Riley Board is a Report For America participant and senior reporter at KDLL covering rural communities on the central Kenai Peninsula.