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New Startup Airline Takes Off: Northern Pacific Airways Ready for Commercial Flights

The brand-new airline has been given approval by the FAA to launch its flights between Las Vegas and Ontario, California

by Fergus Cole

July 11, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of Northern Pacific Airways

Startup carrier Northern Pacific Airways is finally on track to launch its first-ever commercial flight this week after receiving Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) approval.

Founded in May 2021, Anchorage-based Northern Pacific Airways has been planning to launch low-cost commercial flights for the last two years, which has involved working out its business strategy and route network, looking for investment from the public, and overcoming the hurdle of getting authorization to launch commercial flights in the U.S.

But now, the airline has confirmed that it has secured operations specifications (OpSpecs) from the FAA to use its Boeing 757-200 aircraft commercially.

Rob McKinney, CEO of Northern Pacific Airways, was quoted as saying on Twitter: “6:30 pm tonight (Saturday) A call from the CMO manager of the FAA — passed every test. Passed and exceeded all expectations. Ravn Alaska, as Northern Pacific Airways, is authorized as a global airline flying large jets. So many Thx.”

Northern Pacific Airways had initially planned to launch its first commercial flight on June 2, 2023. In March, an official announcement was made that its first flight would be a weekly service between California’s Ontario International Airport (ONT) and Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport (LAS).

“This announcement today represents the achievement of a major milestone for Northern Pacific Airways,” said McKinney when the airline announced its first commercial route in March. “The airline now has a live flight schedule, purchasable tickets, and refurbished aircraft ready to go, and I can’t wait for passengers to meet our team onboard and fly with us.”

“I know that our weekend getaway flights will be an incredibly convenient and cost-effective way for people to enjoy themselves in the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas. I’m especially thankful to our team around the world and especially to those in Anchorage, Alaska, for their dedication and hard work.”

Photo: Courtesy of Northern Pacific Airways

But now, after a six-week delay, the startup carrier is set to launch its first flight between Ontario and Las Vegas this Friday, July 14. Eastbound flights are scheduled to depart Ontario each Friday at 2:00 PM and touch down in Las Vegas at 3:00 PM, while westbound flights will leave Las Vegas at 2:00 PM each Sunday and arrive back in Ontario at 3:00 PM.

Northern Pacific Airways will use its fleet of four Boeing 757-200s to operate the 197-mile route, and it will use the Air Carrier Certificate (ACC) of Ravn Alaska, its sister airline that is run by the same people and specializes in regional flights across the state of Alaska.

Eventually, Northern Pacific Airways intends to become a major airline operating flights between North America and Asia via its hub in Anchorage (ANC). However, it is yet to be seen whether these ambitions will come to fruition, and it will likely be determined by the commercial success of its first route between California and Nevada.