ANCHORAGE (AP) — A federal bankruptcy judge has approved a plan for an auction to sell Alaska's RavnAir Group in whole or part.

The auction of the state's largest rural air carrier is expected to be held after July 4 and before a July 9 court hearing scheduled to finalize a sale, The Alaska Journal of Commerce reported.

Ravn Air said in a statement that about 30 bidders expressed interest in buying all or some of the company's assets, with five of those submitting bids to buy the entire air group.

"We are excited that our employees, our customers, and the many communities we serve will now have a very real opportunity to see Ravn back in the skies later this summer," RavnAir CEO Dave Pflieger said in the statement.

RavnAir cited the economic impact of the coronavirus when the company halted operations April 5, laying off staff and filing for bankruptcy protection.

The company previously operated more than 400 flights per day, using a fleet of 72 aircraft. After the coronavirus outbreak, passenger traffic dropped more than 90%.

An analysis conducted as part of the bankruptcy proceedings estimated RavnAir's assets in liquidation would be worth between $21.2 million and $33 million, far less than its debts of $151.5 million to $185.8 million.

RavnAir has promoted $30 million in federal COVID-19 aid that the carrier said the federal government could grant if a potential buyer is found.

If the airline is not sold in whole or pieces big enough to continue operating, the bankruptcy plan calls for company assets to be put into a trust and sold to satisfy creditors.