Aleutian Airways (VC, Anchorage Ted Stevens) has deferred the launch of scheduled operations between Anchorage Ted Stevens and Dutch Harbor/Unalaska to March 2022 to "tighten up" safety measures after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended design changes to the Saab 2000, public broadcaster KUCB has reported.

"We've decided that, proactively, we're going to be putting in place some additional safety mitigations just to further improve our operating margins in Unalaska... There are processes that take place in the pilots' decision making that we just want to take a look at and further tighten up," co-owner Kent Craford explained.

The airline first announced that it would launch flights in autumn 2021 and subsequently scheduled them for December 2, 2021.

On November 2, the NTSB published the results of its two-year investigation into the October 2019 crash of Saab 2000 N686PA (msn 2000-017) operated by PenAir (Anchorage Ted Stevens), in which one passenger was killed and the aircraft written off. The NTSB said the design of the type's wheel speed transducer wire harnesses "did not consider and protect against human error during maintenance", while the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) did not fully consider runway safety area dimensions during the certification of Saab 2000 operations at Dutch Harbor. In addition, the investigators identified pilot errors and lack of experience as contributing factors.

Services to Dutch Harbor are Aleutian Airways' only planned scheduled route. A joint venture of Alaska Seaplanes and Sterling Airways, the start-up said that as it defers the scheduled launch, it would deploy its only Saab 2000 on charter routes in southwestern Alaska, including from Anchorage to Cold Bay and Sand Point. For now, N687PA (msn 2000-021) remains stored in Springfield, MO.

The ch-aviation schedules module shows that Ravn Alaska (Anchorage Ted Stevens) operates 2x daily scheduled passenger flights between Dutch Harbor and Anchorage using Dash 8-100 and Dash 8-300 turboprops, while Alaska Central Express (KO, Anchorage Ted Stevens) runs daily cargo services using Beech 1900(F)s.