Era adds 2 new planes; sale nears completion

Posted: Thursday, April 14, 2005

In an effort to signal company's health, Paul Landis, senior vice president for Era Aviation, said the regional airline is about to purchase two new airplanes, and that a deal to sell the airline is almost complete.

Era, the only regularly scheduled airline serving Kenai Municipal Airport, was sold to Houston-based SEACOR Holdings Inc. last year for $118 million.

SEACOR purchased Era for the helicopter portion of its business and has said it plans to sell the airline portion.

Landis said the sale is close to completion but declined to comment on when it would be complete and who was interested. However, he said there are four or five serious potential buyers.

The pending sale of Era has raised concern from the community about whether the company will continue to serve the Kenai Peninsula.

In a February interview, Landis said Era is not considering leaving the Kenai market.

The new airplanes, two DeHavilland Dash 8s, will bring the company's fleet to 13 airplanes. Landis said the company also will have all nine of its Twin Otter airplanes upgraded by Aug. 31.

"These are indicators of a company that is moving forward," Landis said.

He said there will be no major changes in the company after the sale is complete.

Karen Casanovas, executive director of the Alaska Air Carriers Association, said activity with Era had been quiet, and she had been wondering what was going on with the company.

The Alaska Air Carriers Association is a nonprofit trade organization that promotes the interests of the commercial aviation industry in Alaska.

Casanovas said Era's daily passenger service to the Kenai Peninsula would probably be attractive to a buyer.

"I think that they're looking for the right buyer," she said.

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