People living in Bristol Bay will soon have another option for air travel.

Ravn Air announced it would begin service to Dillingham and King Salmon starting February 14.

Last week, company executives flew to the villages for a meet-and-greet with the locals.

In King Salmon, Crystal Wassillie—a mom of seven—was one of a few dozen people who turned out to get a look at Ravn’s De Havilland Dash 8-100 that will soon be a regular staple for the community.

“It's beautiful. Lots of leg room, you could take a nap in here,” she laughed.

Right now, PenAir is their only option. Round trip flights typically come in at just under $700.

For Sarah Mitchell and her four kids, that adds up.

“Including my husband, just under $4,000,” she said.

Mitchell hopes the competition will drive prices down. For customers booking three weeks out, Ravn is offering round-trip fares of $320 with two checked bags per person.

“It's so expensive already to live here. To go out and be a part of events outside of King Salmon and Naknek, it's great to have another option to be a part of other communities,” she said.

The crew took the short flight over to Dillingham -- the hub of Bristol Bay. Inside the soon-to-be-Ravn terminal, company president and CEO, Dave Pflieger, met with people who were excited to have another carrier in town.

“We wanted to expand our network, we wanted to provide more choice and more competition, particularly in these markets,” Pflieger said.

Residents say having a choice will give them a more cost-effective way to stay connected.

“Anyone that's gone out in the rural areas of Alaska, we need our planes, we need the air service,” said Kay Andrews who drove from Alegnagik to be there for the event. “We need that service there for us if it's going to Anchorage or another village.”

While living in rural Alaska comes at a cost, people in Dillingham and neighboring villages hope the competition between carriers will finally mean more affordable access to Anchorage.

Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.


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