CRESCENT CITY – Last Friday PenAir filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and started closing their markets on the west coast, including the Humboldt County Airport. However Crescent City Airport will have some time to find a replacement airline before they leave due to PenAir being the only airline to service that airport.
Crescent City Airport Director, Matthew Leitner, says that PenAir is actually obligated to service to their airport, no matter what their financial status, until they are able to find a replacement carrier.
On Monday, PenAir notified the Department of Transportation that they wished to pull out of their recently renewed two year contract with the Crescent City Airport, which would have begun this October, this follows their Chapter 11 reorganization, of cutting back their services. But fortunately for Crescent City, their airport director says they won’t be able to leave so quickly.
“When they filed for bankruptcy they announced their intention to vacate four out of five of their western markets. On Monday they sent the D.O.T. a formal letter indicating that they’re going to terminate this contract as once the D.O.T. receive that PenAir said they wished to terminate the D.O.T. said, fine but you’re going to have to stay until Crescent City has another carrier to pick up its essential air service contract and that’s were at right now,” says Leitner
Immediately following the announcement Leitner says a request was issued to every airline in the country for contract requests to see who would be interested in filling PenAir’s spot in Crescent City.
“Right now we’re doing our utmost to get as many bids of interested carriers so we can have an array of options from which to choose from,” says Leitner
County Officials have expressed concern on what this means for the new terminal at the airport.
“Well it’s part of our economy here, it’s terribly troubling to know that we might not have commercial air service here, but I’m hopeful that that will not be the case. I hope we will have commercial air service but we’re going to have to find a carrier who is going to come in here and pick up the slack,” says Del Norte Supervisor, Roger Gitlin
But Lightner says this will not be an issue and PenAir is obligated to keep flying in and out of Crescent City until a new air carrier is found. However PenAir’s Portland hub is scheduled to close in 90 days but until then the flights between there and Crescent City will still be available.
There is no update yet on what airlines will be stepping in to fill the spot at Crescent City Airport or where those flights will go to.