The Scottsbluff, North Platte, and Kearney airports will likely be losing their essential air service provider.
Alaska-based PenAir has filed for Chapter 11 reorganization with the state of Alaska. PenAir’s Portland, Oregon and Denver, Colorado hubs will begin the process of closing scheduled service over the next 90 days.
“The steps we are taking today will allow PenAir to emerge as a stronger airline, while continuing our focus on safe operations,” said PenAir CEO and Chairman Danny Seybert. “We will be working with a restructuring officer to present a reorganization plan that will allow the management team to focus on our employees, safe operations, retiring debt and taking care of our customers.”
PenAir says once approved, this transition usually takes 30-90 days until a new carrier can be secured in the market.
The Scotts Bluff County Airport Authority had asked the Department of Transportation to request proposals for a new EAS carrier for the Scottsbluff to Denver route, but the announcement Tuesday was a surprise to Western Nebraska Regional Airport Manager Darwin Skelton.
Skelton says it will be difficult for PenAir to do everything necessary with DOT to withdraw and have a replacement carrier approved in 90 days. Skelton said ” PenAir is under contract with the Department of Transportation and they are not going to let them just pull out. They are going to have to find a new carrier and get that situated. So while 90 days may work for PenAir, I don’t know they can get it done that quickly.”
Skelton says it was disappointing that all of the promises and optimism surrounding PenAir’s arrival in the Scottsbluff market failed to materialize.