PUBLISHED: 5:27 PM on Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Alaska Seaplanes to become primary floatplane operator for Angoon and Tenakee
Wings of Alaska and Alaska Seaplane Service have reached a tentative agreement for Alaska Seaplanes to become the primary scheduled floatplane operator serving Angoon and Tenakee from Juneau.

After all regulatory filings are complete with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Wings of Alaska will discontinue scheduled floatplane service to Angoon and Tenakee.

"This has been a difficult decision because of the wonderful employees we have in both stations and the close connections we've made with our customers over the last 25 years," said Bob Jacobsen, president of Wings of Alaska.

Craig Loken at Alaska Seaplane Service said the company has been the sole provider of service to Pelican and Elfin Cove for the past 10 years and have shared service to Angoon and Tenakee for the past few years.

"Scheduled seaplane service is our primary focus and we are very much looking forward to the growth opportunity in Angoon and Tenakee," Loken said. "Route consolidation is a natural trend in markets of increasing costs and is a viable option for keeping fares affordable."

Jacobsen said with aviation gasoline close to $5 a gallon, floatplane operations are costly.

"The Angoon and Tenakee markets are very small, very thin routes and cannot support two full-service air carriers. It's even more difficult when our biggest competitor is a highly subsidized ferry system," Jacobsend said.

Neither Wings of Alaska or Alaska Seaplanes receive any subsidy to serve the Angoon or Tenakee markets.

The agreement calls for Alaska Seaplanes to acquire the equipment and facilities currently used by Wings in Angoon and Tenakee.

Alaska Seaplanes will offer Wing's employees in both stations continued employment.

"We are aware of the commitment of the Wings' employees and would welcome them into our community," Loken said. "We will increase the level and frequency of our service to accommodate the transportation requirements for Angoon and Tenakee."