SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Safety Record Earns Taquan Air Four Stars
Only carrier in Southeast Alaska to achieve four stars


June 01, 2006

Ketchikan, Alaska - Taquan Air has received recognition for implementing safety standards that exceed Federal Aviation Administration regulatory requirements and was recently honored with the non-profit Medallion Foundation's safety culture award.

The industry driven Medallion program is a step-by-step approach to aviation practices that includes process guidelines and specific training and courses for participating airlines. "The Medallion program confirms the company's commitment to safety, the credibility of our employees and especially the trust of our customers," said Brien Salazar, president and CEO of Taquan.

jpg Taquan Air

Taqaun Air's float plane dock and one of its seven DeHavilland Beavers. In the background is the Alaska Marine Highway System's ferry Matanuska and Pennock Island.
Photo By Naona "Peaches" Wallin ©2006

Forty seven air carriers in Alaska are working towards earning the five stars required to qualify for a Medallion Shield. Alaska Airlines, Era Aviation and PenAir have each reached the five star level. Taquan Air is the only carrier in Southeast Alaska to have achieved four stars. "I attribute advances in the Medallion program to our dedicated employees," stated Salazar. The carrier has also installed Capstone avionics in its fleet of Beaver floatplanes, providing electronic terrain mapping and instant weather information for pilots.

In discussing the four year old Medallion program, U.S. Senator Ted Stevens said, "If the airline is not in the Medallion program, don't get on their aircraft."

Federal Aviation Administration chief Marion Blakey stated, "This is truly something that saves lives. What you are doing here is pioneering work. Alaska is working very hard to raise the safety bar." Blakey also said that she would like to see the Medallion program expanded to the Lower 48. "You are at the forefront of a number of technologies that are not being employed elsewhere," she said.

FAA Alaska Region systems safety analysis manager Angela Elgee, said there are two economic motivators for Alaska carriers to pursue Medallion certification, lower insurance rates and the ability to advertise that operations are at a higher level of safety than required.

Taquan Air is now working to earn the fifth star needed to achieve Medallion Shield status. This will involve interviews of all 38 Taquan Air employees, according to Salazar.

Ketchikan-based Taquan Air provides Misty Fiords flightseeing, bear viewing, charter, and scheduled services to Prince of Wales, Metlakatla, and Hyder.

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Ketchikan, Alaska