Alaska Central Express (KO, Anchorage Ted Stevens) has expressed its opposition to Northern Air Cargo's proposal covering Essential Air Service flights to Saint Paul Island.

PenAir (KS, Anchorage Ted Stevens) had provided EAS on an unsubsidised basis to St Paul, a 100-square-kilometre island 1,240km west of Anchorage Ted Stevens, with up to four weekly frequencies from Anchorage using a 30-seat Saab 340B. But in December 2018, PenAir became a subsidiary of Ravn Air Group which subsequently eliminated the smaller Saab turboprop from its operational fleet, retaining only its Saab 2000s and leaving it unable to continue serving the island.

On March 3, 2019, another subsidiary of the group, Corvus Airlines (7H, Anchorage Ted Stevens), doing business as Ravn Alaska, began serving St Paul with three weekly round trips from Anchorage.

Two days later, however, Corvus submitted to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) a notice of intent to terminate the service within 90 days (by June 3), citing increased costs and higher airport expenses at St Paul.

The DOT subsequently requested proposals, with or without subsidy, from carriers interested in providing a replacement of up to three weekly flights with sufficient capacity for passenger traffic and cargo. It simultaneously required Corvus to continue service until July 4.

On May 6, Northern Air Cargo (NAC) filed a proposal for subsidy to provide an all-cargo service between Anchorage and St Paul with an intermediate stop at Dillingham.

Alaska Central Express (ACE) explained in its May 17 filing in opposition to this request that "it should have been abundantly clear to NAC" that the DOT's April 6 request was for EAS that included passenger carriage. Yet NAC was neither proposing said services nor was it even authorised by the DOT or US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to carry passengers, ACE said.

ACE already provides three non-EAS cargo and mail flights per week to St Paul, one of its 21 destinations across Alaska, and its least served in terms of frequency, according to the ch-aviation capacity module. It has been operating the route since 2002.

ACE pointed out in its filing that there was no basis to award subsidy to a route already served by a carrier that does not rely on EAS - and if it did, it would surely award it to ACE. It, therefore, urged the DOT to reject NAC's proposal as "non-responsive and legally deficient".