New Beginnings,
New Horizons
By Tasha Anderson
Even before COVID-19 made business incredibly difficult for airlines across the world, Alaska’s regional air carriers were dealing with some turbulence. RavnAir grounding its fleet and subsequently filing for bankruptcy early in 2020 was a particularly harsh blow to many Alaska communities that depended on its services. But despite the challenges of the pandemic, Ravn Alaska and Rambler Air—both under new ownership—are eyeing the skies once again and gearing up to provide critical aviation services for Alaskans.
Rambler Air
Ascent Global Logistics announced in November that it acquired Hageland Aviation Services, a Part 135 air carrier, which was founded in 1981 in Mountain Village and most recently operated as Ravn Connect.

With the acquisition, in 2021 Ascent Global Logistics is launching Rambler Air, which will provide commuter flights and passenger and cargo charter.

Rambler Air’s fleet will be comprised of eight Piper Chieftain Navajos and two Beechcraft 1900Ds and will be headquartered at Lake Hood in Anchorage.

Ascent Global Logistics President and CEO Tom Stenglein says, “We enter Alaska with more than four decades of running USA Jet, a 121 and 135 certified airline, in the Lower 48 states. We look forward to bringing our track record of safety, operational excellence, and reliable service to Alaska.”

And according to Rambler Air Director of Operation Luke Hickerson, the company is planning on creating up to forty-five professional aviation jobs in Alaska: “We have assembled a team of Alaska’s best in aviation with a passion for serving the unique transportation needs of our state. This is a market we are investing in for the long haul.”

Ravn Alaska
In early August, CEO Rob McKinney and President Tom Hsieh purchased Ravn’s Part 121 airlines and associated assets and restarted Ravn Alaska operations in November 2020 in six Alaska communities: Anchorage, Dutch Harbor, Sand Point, Homer, Kenai, and Valdez. This past December, Ravn Alaska resumed daily flights from Anchorage to Fairbanks.

Though new to the Alaska aviation industry, McKinney and Hsieh are both familiar with regional aviation services. Before taking over ownership and operations of Ravn Alaska, they operated FLOAT shuttle, a shuttle service that provided flights to commuters in Southern California. When COVID-19 grounded that service abruptly, the two looked at other opportunities.

“Ravn seemed unique that there were some unique challenges to it, but it had some really good things going for it, too, that we thought it was just the perfect solution for us,” McKinney says.

Revitalizing Ravn Alaska also spoke to the company’s desire to make a positive contribution in the community. “We saw how [those communities] were suffering with no air service whatsoever, and we thought we would be the ones that would come and resurrect a company for the right reasons—bring it back to life, make it be of service to people—versus maybe a private equity group that would just split it up for the parts and try to make money that way.”