Small regional airline Yute Air announced abruptly that it was ceasing operations on March 5, 2017, effective immediately.
The Bethel-based carrier operated scheduled services to over 22 villages in Alaska and also provided charter services throughout Alaska.
“All of us at Yute Air would like to thank the people of the YK Delta for your business over the years. We are saddened to tell you that Yute Air has shut down”, the airline wrote in a Facebook post.
Ravn Alaska has announced that it will be honoring all purchased Yute Air Reservations until March 31st.
“We understand the surprising nature of the discontinuation of Yute Air services and that it may cause disruption in travel plans,” said Jim Hickerson, president of Ravn Alaska’s Hageland Aviation. “Ravn Alaska is committed to filling the void in service immediately, as seamlessly and conveniently as possible.”
Ravn Alaska also announced the addition of four new scheduled routes set to begin on March 5, 2017. Passengers in the region will have the ability to travel between Bethel and Napakiak, Napaskiak, Goodnews Bay and Platinum.
Yute Air began flying from Dillingham, Alaska in the mid-1950s as Bob Harris Flying Services. The certificate was purchased by Phillip and Demptha Bingman and renamed Yute Air Alaska meaning “the people” in Yupik. Yute Air was sold to William Johnson in 1988, who filed for bankruptcy in 1999.
The company and operating certificate were acquired by the Flight International Group in April 2000 and shortly thereafter renamed “Flight Alaska”. Under the Flight Alaska name, it operated with a multitude of aircraft in addition to the original Cessna 207 aircraft, including a Lear 35, King Air 200, and four CASA 212-200’s. Operations included bypass mail, scheduled passenger and freight service, lodge and private charters, and government smoke jumping contracts.
Yute Air was then acquired by Tim Vottis, in 2004. The airline was downsized to only hub out of Bethel and only serve the surrounding area. The name reverted to Yute Air, which it used until going out of business last weekend.