In the Beginning...
Orin Seybert founded Peninsula Airways in 1955. He was 19 years old, living in Pilot Point, Alaska and owned a 1946 two-seat Taylorcraft. In 1956, a four-seat Piper Tri-Pacer was purchased, and the company was officially named Peninsula Airways. Today, the airline is one of the largest regional airlines in Alaska and one of the largest leasers of the Saab 340 aircraft in the United States.
With its headquarters in Anchorage, Alaska, PenAir currently employs over 500 employees systemwide. In 2012, PenAir branched out to the East Coast serving routes from Boston to Presque Isle, Maine, Bar Harbor, Maine and Plattsburgh, New York. With nearly 45 flights per week, they employ over 55 individuals throughout the Northern East Coast region.
Peninsula Airways was founded by Orin Seybert.
On March 1, 1965 Peninsula Airways became incorporated and purchased the fixed-base operation in King Salmon, Alaska which included the Chevron Airport Dealership.
Peninsula Airways became a full-time subcontractor to Reeve Aleutian Airways, meeting Reeve's certificate obligations to the Chigniks, Perryville and Ivanoff Bay.
Peninsula Airways acquired all assets of Tibbetts-Herre Airmotive, which had operated out of Naknek, Alaska since 1950. By 1973, regular service was provided between King Salmon and the Pribilof Island communities of St. Paul and St. George. Charter service was also extended into the Aleutian Islands in southwest Alaska, including Unalaska, Atka and Adak with the Grumman Super Widgeon.
Two Grumman Goose aircraft were purchased from Reeve Aleutian Airways, and the subcontract was expanded to cover all locations certificated to Reeve throughout the Alaskan Peninsula and Aleutian Islands. This required setting up an operating base at Cold Bay, Alaska with hangars, offices and employee housing.
The Civil Aeronautics Board awarded a Part 401 Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to Peninsula Airways, and all aircraft operations were conducted under Part 135 of the Federal Air Regulations.
Peninsula Airways acquired its first turbine aircraft, a Cessna Conquest, to be operated out of Cold Bay, Alaska. Peninsula Airways was the first Alaskan air carrier to qualify for CAB Part 419 subsidy, allowing the airline to perform Essential Air Service to Atka, St. George and Kodiak Island.
Peninsula Airways acquired all assets of Air Transport Service, Inc., based in Kodiak. Included in the deal was a hangar and office facility with approximately six aircraft and scheduled year-round service to all points on the Island.
An Anchorage base was started with two Cessna Conquest turbo-props offering charter service from Anchorage to the Pribilof Islands.
Scheduled service from Anchorage to King Salmon and Dillingham, Alaska was started with the Cessna Conquest.
The first Fairchild "Metroliner" was purchased and put into service in 1987. Through the next six years Peninsula Airways added additional Metroliners for a total of six aircraft.
Several bush operators in Dillingham had their certificates revoked by the FAA, prompting Peninsula Airways to set up operations servicing rural Alaska. A hangar and aircraft were purchased and service to the surrounding communities began.
Peninsula Airways was contracted by Exxon to support the "Exxon Valdez" oil spill cleanup. Peninsula Airways operations were inspected and approved by Exxon Corporation, U.S. Office of Aircraft Services, U.S. Department of Defense, and 2 FAA NASIP "white glove" inspections.
Alaska Regional Hospital awarded Peninsula Airways a contract to provide 24-hour medevac service between Alaska and the “lower 48” of the United States
Peninsula Airways began doing business as PenAir and became a codeshare and Mileage Plan partner with Alaska-based Alaska Airlines.
PenAir transitioned to FAA Part 121 regulations, operating under both Part 135 and 121. PenAir was the first regional airline in the United States to make the 10-19 seat required conversion, including an active dispatch department.
PenAir acquired its first two Saab 340B aircraft servicing King Salmon and Dillingham, Alaska.
Construction of a new hangar, located at 6100 Boeing Drive, became home to both PenAir´s fleet and their corporate offices in Anchorage, Alaska.
PenAir began a Capacity Purchase Agreement with Alaska Airlines utilizing PenAir's crew and fleet in the Dutch Harbor/Unalaska market.
Happy 50th Anniversary! PenAir is Alaska's largest commuter airline, operating a fleet of 40 aircraft (Part 121 & 135) and providing scheduled service to 36 communities throughout Southwest Alaska. PenAir was the second airline in the state to receive the Medallion Shield Award.
PenAir constructed their second, 33,000 square foot hanger on Boeing Avenue in Anchorage, Alaska.
PenAir expanded into the Bypass Mail operation to include 5 new destinations. They also increased their fleet by welcoming their first "all cargo" Saab 340 aircraft.
PenAir added its second "all cargo" Saab aircraft.
PenAir increased their safety initiatives with their codeshare partner, Alaska Airlines. PenAir, having a strong background in Safety, initiated even stronger policies and guidelines as one of Alaska´s leaders in aviation safety. As the provider of many of the Medallion Foundation´s procedures, these Safety policies are now being used, not just at PenAir, but implemented throughout the United States by many aviation facilities.
As a further commitment and standard of safety, PenAir internally branded their central focus to be “Safety through Compliance.” This empowered their employee group to not only think Safety first but to do so through compliance, achieving a greater understanding of the company´s many policies and assuring that all are being met.
This positive move also guided PenAir to a newer, fresher, streamlined look with a new attitude, energy, dedication and branding, through a complete logo reface.
PenAir was awarded two EAS (Essential Air Service) routes in early 2012. These routes meant expanding its operational base to the East Coast of the United States with services from Boston to Presque Isle, Maine and Plattsburg, New York. PenAir also picked up the seasonal summer route from Boston to Bar Harbor, Maine.
Happy Anniversary PenAir! PenAir celebrated it's 60th Anniversary on founder, Orin Seybert's, birthday May 5th.
PenAir was awarded an EAS contract for service between Portland, Oregon and Crescent City, California. Service began September 15, 2015.
After celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2015, PenAir continued to grow with the addition of new routes throughout the lower 48. On March 21st, PenAir added service between its hub in Portland (opened in September of 2015) and North Bend/Coos Bay, Oregon. One month later, on April 21st, PenAir added two additional routes out of the same hub to: Eureka/Arcata and Redding, California.
After the purchase of 5 Saab 2000s in 2015, PenAir saw the arrival of the 1st & 2nd in May with the 3rd & 4th arriving in June & November respectively. The Saab 2000 aircraft are primarily for PenAir's Alaska operations, offering a larger plane and a faster flight between Anchorage and Dutch Harbor and the Bristol Bay region. PenAir’s 5th Saab 2000 (due around May 2017) will be set up with “over water equipment,” making it available for the Pribilof (St. George & St. Paul) markets. PenAir is the first airline in the United States to operate the 2000 as a scheduled passenger aircraft. The aircraft has been flying schedule passenger service throughout Europe for years but only as chartered service in the United States where it has been owned by several NASCAR companies.
As growth continued, between May and June, PenAir was awarded EAS contracts for service out of a new hub--Denver, Colorado--to/from routes in Kansas and Nebraska. This marked the start of PenAir service in the Midwest. Service between Denver and both Dodge City and Liberal, Kansas began on September 15th. On November 1st, PenAir will begin service between Denver and both Kearney and North Platte, Nebraska. The following day, November 2nd, PenAir will begin service between Denver and Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
On October 5th, PenAir added service between its Portland hub and Klamath Falls, Oregon. Klamath Falls is home to Crater National Park where Crater Lake is classified as one of the 7 wonders of the world.