Finances, flights smooth out for Era

Posted: Wednesday, December 13, 2006

 

  An Era Aviation Twin Otter lands at Kenai Municipal AIrport recently. The carrier has emerged from bankruptcy. M. Scott Moon

An Era Aviation Twin Otter lands at Kenai Municipal AIrport recently. The carrier has emerged from bankruptcy.

M. Scott Moon

The bumpy flights between Kenai and Anchorage may be over now that Era Aviation is about to emerge from bankruptcy.

The regional airline serving Kenai, Homer, Valdez and Cordova from Anchorage announced that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court confirmed its reorganization plan, paving the way for Era to emerge from Chapter 11 reorganization Dec. 20. Era also operates charter service to the North Slope.

“This is great news for our employees and customers,” said Steve Jackson, who was named Era chief executive officer last month.

He said the reorganization plan includes the acquisition of three Beech 1900-D, pressurized, high-speed, turbo-prop aircraft.

“Pressurized means we’ll be able to fly above the weather between (Anchorage) and Kenai,” Jackson said.

He said the Beech aircraft “will operate in tandem with the Dash 8” airplanes Era currently flies between Kenai and Anchorage.

The new aircraft are expected to be in service in the spring of 2007.

Era filed for reorganization nearly one year ago, in December of 2005. Jackson began working with the company in January as the lead reorganization consultant. He most recently helped Hawaiian Airlines through its successful bankruptcy reorganization, he said.

Era, which also serves Kodiak, discontinued service to Bethel in July, and Jackson said the company does not have plans to resume that service.

“We don’t anticipate any (other) cuts,” he said Tuesday. With the addition of the three Beech aircraft, which Jackson said operate more efficiently, he believes Era may be adding service.

He said among the pairs of cities Era serves, the airline has the “most active number of flights” between Anchorage and Kenai.

“Bringing the new aircraft online may result in an increase in personnel,” he said, but he added the company is just now looking at staffing and will continue looking at it into 2007.

“There are a lot of happy people around Era today,” Jackson said.

In the prepared news release, Jackson said, “Once this process is behind us, we look forward to continuously improving the high quality service that Era has provided in the state of Alaska over the last 57 years.”

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek @peninsulaclarion.com.



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