Well there are several that have attempted and failed. Airline competition in Alaska is not like in the lower 48, especially when you get into the bush.
Imagine you are a new air carrier in this state and you want to set up a new service, oh lets say Dillingham. You have to compete against Orin Seybert and Pen-Air. You are not only going to have to compete on price, schedual and service, but you are also going to have to overcome the fact that Betty, their agent in Naknek, is related to everybody in town, and married on one of the tribal elders. And the fact that every kid in that town played basketball against Orins kid, and worked on the fishing boats during the summer with him. Who do you think the people in that town are going to buy their tickets or charter their airplane from? Probably not you, Unless you can hire somebody that is related to everybody in town or married to the tribal elder.
Also carriers tend to be very regionalized, Pen-Air on the chain, Olsen and Bering Air up around Nome and Kotzebue. Arctic Circle up on the chain. A lot of villiages gets very possisive about who provides services to their towns. I have heard stories about aircraft getting rocks chucked at them by the villiage kids because the aircraft belonged to somebody other their "their" carrier.
I just wanted to show two of the factors that are set against companies that want to move in.
Alaska has been hard on carriers.
Most people don't realize how close Alaska came to going under several times in their history. In the 1950's the CAA had to take over management of the carrier, in the 1970's everybody wanted Wein to buy out Alaska. The reason why Alaska was able to develop the route system that they where able to merge successfully with establish carriers up here, like Cordova Air Service, and Ellis Air Lines. So they didn't have to actually fight that possiveness that a carrier today would have to.
There have been many attempts to add service to the markets.
Markair was the one that caused the most headaches for Alaska Airlines. They where willing to take on Alaska on the ANC
run, a run that you would find yourself hard pressed to convince me that AS
isn't willing to price at a loss to force competition out. That is one ofthe reasons why they codeshare with everybody, so that their codeshare partners won't fly the route.
In the end Neil Bercht got himself thrown out of aviation by the feds because he was underpricing himself to keep even with Alaska, and to make good on his famous "PFD" promotion, where he would give 4 tickets on his system to any destination they flew that where redeemable throghout the years. This ment that they only had money during that one time of the year, when this promotion happened, and the rest of the year, no money was comming in to pay bills. Eventually it caught up to them.
There have been others too.
I remember when AirPac tried to make a go of it running a then new Bae 146 down the chain.
Yute Air tried to make a go with Merlins, an aircraft that is appropriately sized for most Alaska runs.
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Photo © Danny Grew
Frontier Flying Service is establishing a pretty nice nich, trying to stay under AS
's radar. They however are trying to build on their existing bush routes.
Reno Air is the sad case. Before they where bought out and destroyed by AA
, the SEA
run reportedly was their #1 run. American Codeshares with AS
, so why did the need to keep the run....they didn't and so they didn't.
Morris Air also tried it and appeared to be doing ok with the run to Salt Lake, until they where bought out by Southwest. The tragedy is that Southwest has never appeared to be willing to take Alaska on that SEA
There was another carrier that was actually sponsered by one of the native corperations down in Southeast that went under after about a year and a half flying Jetstream31's.
All of the majors such as AA
, Frontier, America West are willing to come up here in the summer to fly tourists but none are willing to stay year round. Airfares don't drop in summer, so they all can collude to keep the fares up.
Until another year round carrier comes in to the market with sufficent backing, such as Reno Air in the 1990's. Alaska Airlines will continue to take advantage of their monopoly on Alaska inter and intra state air traffic.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.