Californian virtual air taxi FLOAT bought the Part 121 certificates of both Corvus Airlines (7H, Anchorage Ted Stevens) and PenAir (KS, Anchorage Ted Stevens), as well as six of the former's nine Dash 8-100s, during a RavnAir Group bankruptcy auction last week.

FLOAT will pay USD8 million for the assets, significantly less than the USD19 million initially sought by the bankrupt airline and its creditors. The steep discount reflects the last-minute nature of the deal.

During the first auction on July 7, RavnAir Group as a whole solicited interest from 14 bidders but failed to reach any sort of a deal due to its high initial price of USD43 million. In the absence of an agreement for the whole group, RavnAir instead obtained winning bids "for 11 of the 12 lots [i.e. excluding its Part 121 AOCs] that were focused primarily on RavnAir Connect Part 135 aircraft and facilities used in the company's rural Alaska operations".

The group's Part 135 operators, Hageland Aviation Services (H6, Saint Mary's) and Frontier Flying Service (FTA, Fairbanks Int'l), trading as Ravn Connect, operated a fleet of six Beech 1900Cs, two Beech 1900(F)s, twenty-three Cessna (single turboprop) 208B Grand Caravans, eight Piper (twin piston) PA-31 Navajos, and eighteen Cessna (single piston) C207s. They also owned substantial real estate assets at multiple regional airports throughout Alaska.

Grant Aviation (GV, Bethel) bought 15 Cessnas for USD10 million, Wright Air Service (8V, Fairbanks Int'l) bought four Cessnas and multiple real estate assets for a total consideration of USD12.8 million, Yute Air (4Y, Bethel) bought fourteen Cessnas and some real estate assets for USD1.8 million, and Alaska Central Express (KO, Anchorage Ted Stevens) bought all eight Beech 1900s for USD5 million.

Following an initial lack of success in selling the certificates and assets of the two Part 121 airlines, RavnAir Group planned to continue the auction on July 8. The USD19 million price tag included both airlines and all nine Dash 8-100s owned by Corvus Airlines d/b/a RavnAir. However, following talks with prospective bidders, the group adjourned the auction without sale, having "determined that bids received were not high enough to be acceptable".

However, shortly before the court was to approve the successful sales and the adjournment without sale of the auction for the Part 121 airlines, RavnAir Group said that "in a last-minute turn of events", the last lot was sold to FLOAT. The Californian company's co-founder Rob McKinney has been appointed CEO of the New Ravn Alaska and has confirmed to ch-aviation that it plans to operate under the Ravn brand at least for the first year of its operations.

"While it is truly unfortunate that we can't restart our RavnAir Connect Part 135 airline, we are hopeful that the Alaska-based buyers of those assets will hire many of our former employees; and we are thrilled to hear that the FLOAT shuttle team intends to rehire as many of our remaining employees as possible and quickly resume flights to the many vital communities Ravn serves throughout our great state," Chief Executive Dave Pflieger said.