Pacific Wings Beaver is loaded up for a flight from Salmon Bay Lake on Prince of Wales Island in 2016. (Photo courtesy of Matt Lenhard)

A charter plane company in central Southeast Alaska has announced it’s closing because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pacific Wings LLC is based in Petersburg. It offers charter passenger and cargo service to other communities in the region, along with flightseeing and transportation to remote parts of the Tongass National Forest. The company was started in 1985. It has three single-engine float planes, two Cessnas and a larger DeHavilland Beaver. Owner Tyler Robinson purchased it in 2011.

Robinson declined to do a recorded interview but said it’s been an emotional time for the company. He employed three others full time, along with several part time workers.

He said the virus and travel mandates eliminated most of his business this spring. The company often flies bear hunters, sport anglers, cruise ship passengers and U.S. Forest Service workers around the area.

Robinson wrote in an online post Saturday, May 30, “Due to this terrible virus that has affected all of our lives and the travel mandates it has caused along with the uncertainty of the immediate future we are finding it difficult to find a clear path forward.”

Robinson thanked his employees, family and customers. He said an effort is being made to continue the company under new ownership, possibly selling some of it to another local resident.

Flights will continue on the Beaver from the float plane dock on Petersburg’s waterfront until the end of June. The company ended it operations at Petersburg airport June 1st.