This Week in Alaska Business History December 16, 2001

PHOTO/James MacPherson/AJOC
Editor’s note: "This Week in Alaska Business History" revisits events that shaped our past.

"Those who cannot
remember the past are
condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana, 1863-1952

20 years ago this week

Anchorage Times

Dec. 16, 1981

Hoverbarge increases exploration

Offshore exploration activity in the Beaufort Sea can be extended beyond the five month period imposed by the state and federal government, a study by Sohio Alaska Petroleum Co. indicates.

Sohio officials said a demonstration project showed air-cushion vehicles can support such activity, which has been limited to between Nov. 1 and March 31, the five months between freezeup and breakup.

An ice-strengthened tug pushed a large hoverbarge through frozen sea ice during a four-day demonstration, Oct. 30 to Nov. 2. Ice more than 2 feet thick was measured, and some 22 nautical miles of ice near Prudhoe Bay were broken.

The largest air-cushion transport in the state, an ACT-100 owned by VECO/Global Marine Inc., was used for the demonstration, according to Dave Reid.

He said the barge, which has a capacity of 100 tons, at times broke through ice more than 2 feet thick.

"But overall, we found that it could travel most efficiently through about 18 inches of ice, without slowing or backing up for a run."

Anchorage Times

Dec. 16, 1881

Western suspends Prudhoe route

By Deb David

Times Writer

In another attempt to clean up its finances, Western Airlines suspended its infant Prudhoe Bay route Tuesday because the planes flew only 5 percent full; too empty to make the flights pay off.

Western began the Anchorage-Prudhoe flights Dec. 2. It was competing with Alaska Airlines and Wien Air Alaska for the route, which largely serves the oil industry.

Wien and Alaska Airlines both have lucrative contracts with oil companies to transport workers between the Deadhorse Airport near Prudhoe Bay and Anchorage.

Alaska Airlines started its Prudhoe service Dec. 8. Wien, which may become the subject of the takeover attempt by Western, has been offering scheduled Prudhoe service since 1970.

"When you are in the shape we are in, you can’t afford to continue flying routes that are not making money," said Western spokesman Linda Dozier.

Western expects its fourth quarter losses to be between $50 million and $60 million.

10 years ago this week

Alaska Journal of Commerce

Dec. 16, 1991

Bad checks plague retailers

Three times worse than last year,’ one business owner says

By Margaret Bauman

Alaska Journal of Commerce

Shopkeepers already weary of the growing number of bad checks expect more of the same during the holiday season.

It’s an uphill financial struggle that nearly put one merchant out of business.

"It’s three times worst this year than last year," said Kurt Marsch, owner of Radio Shack stores at two Anchorage malls. "They are more brazen, more angry, sometimes even violent."

Credit card fraud also persists with the latest scam being, "I can’t make it in, so I’m sending my brother down," said Doug Minert, president in charge of retail television stores for Stolt’s. "We got hit by two of them last Christmas. The police have been helpful in letting us know the latest scam."

Check-Rite of Alaska is handling at least 250 bad checks a day through its Anchorage office, with more and more names being added all the time.

Alaska Journal of Commerce

Dec. 16, 1991

Hong Kong connection

Cargo airline wants to serve U.S. via Anchorage International

By Ray Tyson

Alaska Journal of Commerce

Air Hong Kong wants to break into the lucrative U.S. cargo market using Anchorage International Airport as its gateway to cities in the Lower 48.

Ned Wallace, the airline’s executive vice president, said Air Hong Kong could begin service through Anchorage by late summer or early fall, pending approval of its license by Hong Kong’s Air Transportation Licensing Authority.

Air Hong Kong is the seventh foreign cargo airline in recent months to name Anchorage as a refueling stop, welcome relief to an airport that’s lost numerous international passenger flights to long-range jets and to more direct routes through Soviet air space.

"Anchorage is the optimum point for us in terms of range and mileage, allowing us to carry a maximum amount of cargo," Wallace said.

-- Compiled by Ed Bennett.

12/16/2001 - 8:00pm