Longtime Alaska aviation brand Era Alaska is changing its name and the names of the airlines that fly under the Era banner, its parent company's officials announced Thursday.
The Anchorage-based "family of airlines," as Era calls itself, is now known as Ravn Alaska. One member of that family, Era Aviation, has renamed itself Corvus Airlines, with Hageland Aviation Services and Frontier Flying Service now doing business as Ravn Connect, said Ravn Alaska CEO Bob Hajdukovich.
The re-branding effort has been six months in the making and involved choosing from about 100 different possible names, Hajdukovich said.
"Our carrier, it's statewide like the bird, a strong flier, intelligent, efficient and a survivor. A lot of different adjectives that came to mind seemed to fit with what we're trying to do," Hajdukovich said.
The goal, Hajdukovich said, was to eliminate confusion between Era Helicopters, a separate company, and Era Alaska, the "umbrella" brand that allowed passengers to purchase flights operated by three different airlines from a central booking service. Now, Corvus -- Latin and the genus for crows and ravens -- is the airline that will fly to Alaska's hubs, and planes branded Ravn Connect will fly into smaller communities from there, Hajdukovich said.
Asked if re-branding would help Era to overcome negative publicity following several crashes last year, Hajdukovich said that was not the intent.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, four Era-branded flights crashed in 2013. Three of those were Hageland-operated planes, including one that went down near St. Marys in November, killing four and injuring six.
"Any accidents are done by the operating company. This re-branding effort, if it cleans the slate, it might be perceived that we changed our name because of the accident, and that couldn't be further from the truth," Hajdukovich said.
Ravn is the largest group of regional airlines in the state, with daily flights to nearly 100 communities, according to company officials.
By CASEY GROVE