Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

 
 

Skagway ferry float's sinking boosts airlines

 


Local airlines are seeing a bump in business due to the sinking of the Skagway ferry dock float April 24. At press time Wednesday, ferry service there was suspended until May 9.

Representatives of Wings of Alaska and Alaska Seaplanes this week said they added flights for dozens of additional customers. Freight loads also have been up. “People who showed up off the ferry had all their summer gear. They had bikes, tents, lots of stuff,” said Theresa Albecker of Wings.

With airline customers paying as much as 50 cents per pound for baggage exceeding 70 pounds, some travelers were looking for other alternatives.

Alaska Fjordlines CEO Alison Jacobson said her 48-passenger catamaran took seven Skagway-bound travelers there Monday. The company approached the Alaska Marine Highway about contracting to provide Juneau-Skagway service, but the state said there wasn’t traffic enough to justify such an arrangement.

The company will make a trip to Skagway on Tuesday, May 6. They’re tentatively planning a morning departure and an afternoon return to Haines. They’ll start making almost-daily trips to Skagway May 12.

Skagway summer worker Cricket Keedy was among a half-dozen Skagway-bound passengers on the April 24 ferry notified en route that the ship wouldn’t arrive there. Instead they were dropped off at Haines and refunded the value of the Juneau-Skagway trip.

Keedy had stopped at a local grocery store and was planning to gas up for the 350-mile drive towns. “It’s going to be a great drive. I’m excited about it, but I want to sleep in my own bed.”