Tanana Air Service's roots extend back the 1960's. The company was started in the village of Ruby, Alaska by Mr. Harold Esmailka. Harold's Air Service, as it was originally known, operated for many years in Interior Alaska. In the early 1980's, Harold's Air was acquired by the Bidzy Ta Hot Aana native corporation, which renamed the airline Friendship Air Alaska.
Friendship was based in Fairbanks, Alaska, and had scheduled routes from remote bases in numerous towns and villages in Interior Alaska. Bidzy Ta Hot Aana ceased operating Friendship Air in 1989, and in 1992, resumed business under the name Tanana Air Service. Tanana Air operated scheduled routes and charter flights safely across Alaska for over a decade. Because of economic reasons, the company suspended its Fairbanks and remote stations operations in 2004.
Mr. Brian Martin, the McGrath-based pilot at the time, obtained the Bidzy Ta Hot Aana Corporation, two Piper Cherokee 6 aircraft, and various support equipment. Tanana Air Service continued operating from the new McGrath Base of Operations, and later added a 9-passenger, twin-engine Piper Navajo to the fleet.
In 2007, Mr. Martin built a new office, hangar, and mail storage facility. In 2008, Mr. Martin negotiated a contract with Northern Air Cargo, and Tanana Air became Northern Air's McGrath agent for service. In 2010, Mr. Martin purchased the assets of Redline Air Charters from Mike Stewart, another local charter pilot, and former Tanana Air Service pilot. This brought the addition of a Cessna 185 with wheel/skis and a Cessna 207, further expanding the capabilities of our fleet.
In 2012, Tanana Air Service also became the contract agent for Peninsula Airways, and our office in McGrath became the one-stop shop for commercial air travel and shipping.
Today, our highly experienced flight crew has nearly 70 years of combined flying experience, with nearly 60 years operating in bush Alaska, and over 40,000 hours in the air safely flying everything from Piper Cubs to DC-10 jet airliners.
We strive to get the job done, on time, and under budget. From rush deliveries, to travelers in a crunch for time, you can count on us!
Safety is our number-one priority. When choosing to travel with Tanana Air you can rest assured we've got your best interests in mind.