The community of Little Diomede is perched on the side of a rocky island in the middle of the Bering Strait. Without a runway or sheltered barge landing, residents historically relied on intermittent helicopter service or, when the ocean was frozen solid enough, seasonal fixed-wing flights. This often led to residents being stranded in Nome or Wales waiting for a seat on the mail helicopter in order to return.
PDC was hired to investigate feasible options for providing regularly scheduled passenger service to the community. Construction of a full-length runway on the island was cost prohibitive, which left only helicopter and marine (ferry) transport options. After researching, analyzing, and comparing several alternatives, the team recommended subsidized helicopter service. This was determined to provide the most economically and logistically feasible service. Subsidized passenger service began in 2013.