Alaska Airlines works to hire laid off Ravn employees in Kodiak

After drastically cutting flight services last week, this weekend RavnAir Group announced it would be halting all flights, laying off its remaining staff and filing for bankruptcy. Ravn employees at Kodiak airport were previously responsible for servicing Ravn turboprops as well as the daily Alaska Airlines jets from Anchorage.

Now, Alaska Airlines says it’s working to hire back Kodiak’s recently laid off Ravn employees.

In Anchorage, passengers board a RavnAir Group flight bound for Unalaska. (Laura Kraegel/KUCB)

“We have used Ravn employees in order to facilitate aircraft handling and cargo, and we are planning to continue to do that, but we have to go through the hiring process,” Tim Thompson, Alaska Airlines’ external affairs manager.

Thompson says the airline, which owns Kodiak’s airport building, will be temporarily filling the positions with Alaska Airlines employees from elsewhere in the state until they have finished the hiring process for the former Ravn employees. Right now, there’s no estimate for how long the hiring process will take.

In a statement on Monday, Alaska Airlines also announced they would be organizing a job fair to help connect laid off Ravn employees across the state with other opportunities or companies. Thompson says that will likely be held online, but they don’t have a date planned yet.

Already the turnover disruption caused Alaska to cancel Monday’s jet from Anchorage to Kodiak and back, but Thompson says they expect to resume service on Tuesday.

Thompson says they’re not planning to get the fill-in airport employees coming from off-island tested for COVID-19, but they are telling everyone — employees and passengers — that if they feel ill they should not be flying.

“The steps that we’ve gone to, to create a safe environment for both our guests and employees includes everything from wearing gloves with our in-flight crews … if they want to wear masks they can wear masks. Also we have enhanced cleaning onboard aircraft as well,” Thompson said.

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Alaska Airlines reduced daily flight service for Kodiak from two jets to one afternoon jet, five days per week. Freight flights to Kodiak have not been affected, says Thompson — they typically land Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

With the start of fishing season on the horizon, Thompson also says Kodiak can expect some further changes to both the passenger jet and freight schedule, but those have not been fixed yet.

In its statement over the weekend, Ravn said its intention is to hire back the laid off employees once the company is “in a position to cover the costs of rehiring” and resuming flight services.

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