Alaska Seaplanes (J5, Juneau Int'l) is planning to partner with investment fund Wexford Capital to expand its network of scheduled routes in Alaska using the Air Carrier's Certificate (ACC) of Via Airlines (SRY, Orlando Int'l), which was recently bought by the fund, Alaska Public Media has reported.

The Alaskan seaplane operator had tried to buy Corvus Airlines (7H, Anchorage Ted Stevens) and PenAir (KS, Anchorage Ted Stevens) from bankrupt RavnAir Group in order to boost its presence in the state, but ultimately lost out to Californian air taxi FLOAT.

"Instead of taking over the old Ravn certificates, we will simply move operations out there under a different and new certificate," co-owner and President Kent Craford said.

While not naming the new ACC holder, Craford confirmed that Alaska Seaplanes would partner with Wexford Capital. The Connecticut-based fund acquired Via Airlines during the Florida-based carrier's bankruptcy proceedings in July.

"So we're going to be adding aircraft to that certificate and serving Dutch Harbor and other communities on the Alaska Peninsula that were previously served by Ravn... Right now, we’re looking at our aircraft options, but whatever we choose, it’s going to be an aircraft that can serve Unalaska directly from Anchorage Ted Stevens without a stop in Cold Bay or anything like that," Craford explained.

While PenAir used to serve Dutch Harbor with Saab 2000s, capable of flying to the city directly from Anchorage, it later replaced them with Dash 8-100s, which required a refuelling stop. The city, located in the Aleutian island chain around 1,300 kilometres from Anchorage, currently relies on limited regional services provided by Grant Aviation (GV, Bethel).

Alaska Seaplanes holds a Part 135 ACC and, as such, is limited to the operation of 19-seat turboprop aircraft on commuter routes.

Meanwhile, FLOAT has said it was "doing everything" in its power to prepare for PenAir's and Corvus Airlines' resumption of services "in the coming weeks". The air taxi operator purchased the two Part 121 airlines from RavnAir Group on July 9 for a total consideration of USD8 million. It has already launched a new website for the Alaskan carriers, branding them as the "New Ravn" and incorporated as FLOAT Alaska. It has also commenced recruitment.

FLOAT said it was committed to re-hiring as many employees of the two acquired airlines as feasible. It will also seek to provide the same services in Alaska. However, despite assurances that it was working hard, it said it could not provide a specific relaunch date as yet.

FLOAT co-founder and proposed Chief Executive of New Ravn, Rob McKinney, replaced Alaska Seaplane's Kent Craford as the Chief Executive of now-defunct SeaPort Airlines (K5, Portland Int'l) in 2010. While Craford was the CEO of the airline, McKinney served as its Chief Operating Officer.