By Ken Leland and Bob Kern
January 02, 2007
I wish to thank the many people who have commented on the recent
loss of Airporter service to Ketchikan International Airport
and, on behalf of our drivers and employees, thank them for the
many nice comments about the excellent level of service we've
taken pride in providing over the past several years.
The Airporter service has been, at best, a marginally-profitable
operation to begin with. The past few years have seen expenses
spiralling alarmingly upward, and expenses moving dramatically
downward. Everyone is familiar with the high gas prices, but
we've also been faced with a quadrupling of insurance rates,
higher maintenance costs, and other expenses which have had the
Airporter operating "in the red" for the past couple
The financial picture, coupled with an adversarial relationship
with the Airport Manager's office, and an apparently unconcerned
Borough administration, brought us to the conclusion that it
is no longer possible for a privately-owned company to operate
this service with any expectation of, even, a small profit, or
to expect the Borough to follow or enforce its own ordinances.
We warned the Borough more than two years ago that their policies
could result in a loss of Airporter service, but nothing was
done and our complaints fell on deaf ears.
When the decision to stop service came, we gave the Borough the
required 30 days notice that we were discontinuing service as
of the end of the year.
Instead of trying to come up with a plan to provide continued
service, I was dismayed to read that the Borough staff wants
take the break in service to increase the fees in the airporter
ordinance and further burdon future airporters and the traveling
I read that a Borough official said there were complaints that
the Airporter got to ride on the airport ferry for free. The
Airport Manager wrote that he doesn't think government should
be giving concessions to private operators. Well, we took our
airporter responsibilities very seriously, and for the level
of service we provided to the airport and the traveling public,
I think it was a fair exchange.
We were required by ordinance to meet each and every scheduled
flight. Even though hundreds of those flights had no passengers
for us, we never missed a single flight in six years of service.
If travelers needed us, we were there for them.
I'm sorry that these Borough officials are more interested in
stuffing Borough coffers than providing services to the citizens
of our community. From their comments, I don't think they know
the first thing about the Airporter or what services the Airporter
performed for the community.
SitNews writers have commented on our drivers going out of their
way to help with luggage or assisting with special needs. Do
these Borough officlals know we transported hundreds of babies
and children at no charge, transported blood shipments to the
hospital, delivered lost or forgotten luggage, gave free rides
to money-less travelers, transported handicapped travelers from
the hospital or their homes in our wheelchair-lift bus, helped
bewildered visitors find a place to stay, gave a bandaid to a
little girl with a scraped knee, or hundreds of other unheralded
kindnesses we weren't required to do?
Not one single Borough official called to ask why we were closing
down the Airporter service or to ask if there was anything we
could suggest that could be done to turn it into a viable service
again. The only thing they've come up with is a plan to increase
airporter fees make it even more impossible for any future Airporter
to provide a low-cost transportation service to the airport.
When told of our decision to close down the Airporter service
many of our customers were horrified. We feel very badly that
the loss of the Airporter service will effect the elderly passengers
we transported, the handicapped, the mothers traveling with young
children, and others who find it difficult to get to and from
the airport with large amounts of baggage. But, it's just not
economically feasible to continue operating the Airporter service
at a loss and absorbing these losses, as we have for the past
Thank you very much for your past patronage, your understanding
and your friendship.
All the best in the New Year!
Received January 01, 2007 - Published January 02, 2006
About: " Very long-time
residents and former operators of The Airporter Shuttle"
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
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