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No changes in works for Era in Homer

Posted: March 8, 2013 - 11:38am

Contrary to what you may have heard, Era Alaska is not departing. The airline company has no intention of abandoning its service to the southern Kenai Peninsula.

However, rumors of a possible pullout from Homer have spread all the way to Era Alaska's sales and marketing director, Steven Smith.

"A lady called me last week and said she had heard that," said Smith of speculation that Era's 30-year service to Homer was coming to an end. "I asked her who told her that and she said she'd heard it was a whole realignment. That's absolutely not true."

It is true that Era cut service to Cordova, but even that was for a short time.

"We analyze the numbers every month and Cordova was the only market where we had significantly lost passenger numbers over a period of time," said Smith. "I think that had to do with the fact that Cordova is served by both a jet and us. Homer doesn't have that situation at all."

Service to Cordova will resume in May.

"But no other city on our route is experiencing any problems," said Smith.

What began as Era Helicopters by Carl Brady in 1948 expanded to include a fixed-wing division during construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline, with service on DeHaviland Twin Otters and a Convair 580 aircraft. In the 1980s, service was provided to Cordova, Homer, Kenai, Kodiak and Valdez.

In 2009, the company, which had passed through numerous owners, was acquired by HoTH, Inc., and renamed Era Alaska. Its scheduled passenger and cargo flights use a combination of the Bombardier Dash 9 and Beachcraft 1900D and 1900C aircraft.

Flights to Homer rely on the DeHaviland Dash8, with space for a flight attendance and snacks, and the smaller Beachcraft 1900s.

Era Alaska's routes serve more than 100 communities within the state. Multiple daily flights are offered between Homer and Ted Stevens International Airport on a seven-days-a-week basis.

"Why would we pull out of a market we're doing so well in?" said Smith. "We're very happy with the Homer market and have no intention of leaving. Let everyone know we're not doing anything different."

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.

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