Friday, September 14, 2012

Airport adrift in Akutan, Alaska

Grant Aviation pilot James Miller stands by one of the fleet's planes at the Unalaska airport after arriving from Atka last week, when Grant took over service from Peninsula Airways. 
- Photo by Jim Paulin, Alaska Newspapers

Even with a brand new airport that just opened this summer,mail and people are still flying into Akutan the old fashioned way, splashing down in a Goose. The new airport is sitting idle across the bay on another island, waiting for a ship. 

 The transition in small plane service from Peninsula Airways to another carrier has been smoothly completed between Unalaska and Atka and Nikolski, with Grant Aviation now flying people and mail.

But Pen Air is still flying its antique float plane into Akutan, even with the recent construction of the state airport on Akun Island.

The problem is that the new airport is on another island, and Grant Aviation operates airplanes, not boats, said Grant's president, Bruce McGlasson.

McGlasson expects the problem to be soon resolved with a hovercraft operated by the Aleutians East Borough, which will transport people and mail from the new airport on Akun Island to the village of Akutan, on Akutan Island.

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