The National Transportation Safety Board is pushing for a safety audit of an Alaska commuter airline involved in multiple crashes over the past years.
The safety board requested the Federal Aviation Administration audit HoTH, Inc., as well as its own oversight of the company. HoTH, Inc. holds Hageland Aviation, Frontier Flying Service and Ravn Alaska, formerly known as Era Aviation. The NTSB said the audit request focuses on Hageland Aviation, the operator behind two fatal crashes within the last year.
Last month, two pilots were killed in a crash near Kwethluk, and four people died in November 2013 when a flight carrying nearly a dozen people crashed near Saint Mary’s.
“We want to be able to try and raise that bar of safety, not only for Hageland, that operator, but also for the Bethel-Kuskokwim carriers out there,” said Clint Johnson of the NTSB. “This air service, and all the other ones, are very important to the economy out there, to the livelihood, so we want to make sure the safety bar is raised and adhered to.”
In a statement, the FAA said it began increased surveillance of Hageland Aviation in 2011 and planned to send an out-of-state audit team to Alaska to take a closer look at the carrier. The administration said it would respond to the NTSB’s request within 90 days.
This is only the second time the safety board has made a request like this; the first was for a commuter train company in the Lower 48.
Hageland Aviation could not be reached for comment Thursday.