MIAMI – In a video to employees this week, Ravn Alaska (7H) CEO Rob McKinney announced an ambitious expansion plan. The vision is to obtain up to 10 Boeing 757s and begin international service.

Currently, Ravn is a regional airline based at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) and serves small communities throughout Alaska. It flies a fleet of 10 de Havilland DHC-8-100 aircraft configured with 29 to 37 seats.

Ravn was shut down in April of 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. On November 30 Ravn Alaska received scheduled route authority US Department of Transportation and resumed scheduled flights to and from Anchorage, Dutch Harbor (Unalaska), Homer, Kenai, Kodiak, and Sand Point.

Photo: Ravn Alaska Airlines

The Expansion Plan

McKinney’s video said that his executive group plans to acquire 10 Boeing 757s with ETOPs certification. They would then begin flying international routes as a low cost carrier. Ravn would develop the now unused North Terminal at Anchorage as a hub for a newly branded Northern Pacific Airways.

Initial destinations would include Tokyo (NRT) and Seoul (ICN) with Osaka (ITM) coming online later. On the domestic side, passengers would connect in ANC to Orlando (MCO), Newark (EWR), Las Vegas (LAS), Ontario (ONT), and Oakland (OAK).

“I know change like this, especially of this magnitude, is scary to a lot of people,” McKinney said in the video. “I want to reassure you that we are really digging into these numbers and are very certain of the value that we’re going to be able to bring to the company. We’re also certain we can get this stood up and running without acquiring an excessive amount of debt like Ravn used to have. I also want to assure everyone that our commitment to Alaska and our Alaskan communities has never been stronger.”

McKinney assured employees that they were not pulling back from the Dash-8 program. Ravn will not diminish the quality or frequency of its current routes nor are jobs in jeopardy.

“I want to assure you that no one’s job is in jeopardy. And no one will be down-sized as a result of this. This will just give potential for upward mobility and advancement for many of you in the ranks that would like to transition into our eventual Boeing international program.”

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is the headquarters of Ravn Alaska Airlines. Photo: Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport

A Difficult Task

However, as notes, obtaining ETOPs certification is a difficult task. It typically requires a significant investment from the airline to demonstrate its competence to the Department of Transportation. The website notes that Southwest Airlines took more than 16 months between its announced plans to serve Hawaii and receipt of ETOPS approval.

From the airline: Ravn Alaska is a regional airline headquartered in Anchorage that services communities across Alaska including Aniak, Cold Bay, Dillingham, Dutch Harbor, Homer, Kenai, King Salmon, Sand Point, St. Mary’s, St. Paul Island, Unalakleet and Valdez. The airline provides daily flights aboard its safety-rated de Havilland Dash-8-100 fleet, charter flights and cargo shipments. Visit to book a flight and learn more about Ravn.

Featured image: Ravn Alaska Airlines