Airline holding group agrees to buy Era Aviation

Combined HoTH air group will employ about 700 people

Posted: Wednesday, February 18, 2009

ANCHORAGE - Aviation company HoTH Inc. will purchase Era Aviation Inc. for an undisclosed sum and operate the company under a single airline called Frontier Alaska.

The deal calls for HoTH to purchase 100 percent of the company's stock and it is expected to be complete by Feb. 27. HoTH will own Frontier Flying Services Inc. and Hageland Aviation Services Inc. in addition to Era.

Once the deal is finalized, HoTH will have built business that exceeds $100 million in revenue annually, according to a company statement.

The deal comes just over a year after Hageland Aviation and Frontier Flying Service joined forces, ending years of intense competition in rural Alaska. The company operates as Frontier Alaska.

Collectively the three commuter airline divisions will serve nearly 100 of the state's cities and villages with intrastate service.

The deal will benefit commuters and employees, said Bob Hajdukovich, chief executive officer of HoTH who will become Era's chief executive.

"This deal not only complements what we already do, but allows for upside growth of our operations while strengthening our connectivity to rural communities, which is so important to us," Hajdukovich said in a prepared statement.

"Era has an excellent safety record and culture that will complement our strategic goals of developing a statewide network of professional airlines that set the standard for safe operations," he said.

The combined HoTH air group will employ approximately 700 people while annually transporting more than 600,000 passengers, 5 million pounds of freight and 24 million pounds of mail.

Era's current chief executive officer, W. Stephen Jackson, said the acquisition "will enable the combined entities to provide ever higher levels of safety and service to customers along with greater financial stability for employees."

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