By Joey Gerardi
Exclusive: Boutique Air Announces Three New Destinations
San Francisco-based Boutique Air is once again in the news. The carrier has expanded aggressively lately, and they certainly didn’t disappoint with this announcement. Including the three new destinations in this article, the number of cities started by the carrier since August will be 11.
AirlineGeeks got the opportunity to speak with Boutique Air Vice President of Business Operations Brian Kondrad and get the inside scoop on the three newest destinations for the carrier, in addition to some talk about the airline’s future.
This new destination will be the carrier’s second in the state of Texas, along with Dallas-Ft. Worth. The route will operate from Carlsbad, N.M., one of Boutique’s many Essential Air Service cities around the country.
The route to the carrier’s newest Texan destination will be flown using Pilatus PC-12 and King Air 350 aircraft. The year-round trip will begin on Feb. 1, 2021.
Carlsbad, N.M., where the flights will operate from, is one of Boutique’s few non-sterile stations, meaning that passengers won’t go through a TSA checkpoint before boarding the flight. El Paso will also be non-sterile. Like Boutique’s Albuquerque terminal, El Paso’s flights will be walking distance from the main passenger terminal. Fares start at $49.
Although Carlsbad is an EAS city, the flights to El Paso will not be included in the contract and will be flown at risk.
Airline Geeks (AG): What made the company come to the decision to begin El Paso from Carlsbad?
Brian Kondrad (BK): Due to the demand from the local community in Carlsbad. A third destination will also help with more possibilities for connections.
(AG): Carlsbad is currently in the EAS bidding process. Do you see this addition helping you re-secure the contract in Carlsbad?
(BK): This will just show how flexible we are and are willing to go above and beyond for the community and their needs.
This new destination will be the Boutique’s third in the state of Arizona. The other two are Show Low, in the eastern part of the state, and one of the carrier’s hubs at Phoenix Sky Harbor.
Flights will begin on the Feb. 15 and will operate twice daily. All flights will be operated on board one of the carrier’s many Pilatus PC-12s, and fares begin at $69 one-way.
Prescott is an Essential Air Service city, but Boutique doesn’t hold the contract. The current contract holder in Prescott is SkyWest under the United Express banner, and they offer flights to Denver and Los Angeles.
(AG): What made the company come to the decision to begin flights from Phoenix to Prescott?
(BK): Due to the demand and the beginning of the high season in March. This will help American Airlines loyalty passengers fly direct into Phoenix Sky Harbor instead of driving, due to SkyWest (United) only servicing UA hubs from Prescott.
(AG): Prescott is an EAS city, but you don’t hold the contract in that city. Will you bid for the contract the next time it’s up for renewal?
(BK): Yes we will.
The carrier will operate out of the main passenger terminal in Prescott, Ariz.
This destination will be the third and final in this news update and will be the first time the carrier will offer scheduled flights to the state of South Dakota.
New flights to Rapid City will operate from Chadron, Neb., one of the communities Boutique currently holds an EAS contract in. Although Chadron is an EAS city, the new route to Rapid City will not be part of the contract and will be flown at risk without subsidy.
Flights to the South Dakotan city begin on Feb. 15, 2021 and will be flown year-round with fares beginning at $49 one-way.
(AG): You fly from Chadron to Denver, and now Rapid City to Chadron. Are you going to try and connect passengers from Rapid City all the way to Denver?
(BK): Although you can book a flight that way, we are doing this for the community to assist them with easier connections. There is also a big connection between Chadron and Rapid City.
(AG): What made the company come to the decision to begin flights from Chadron to Rapid City?
(BK): Due to demand for easier connections, and a way to head east without going west [to Denver] first.
Other recent Boutique additions include EAS city Altoona, Penn, which was announced back in October and began on Jan. 1. The carrier also resumed flights between Massena, N.Y. and Baltimore-Washington on Jan. 10 after halting the route in 2018.
Although there are three new destinations for the airline, Boutique has also announced the discontinuation of the route from Phoenix to Palm Springs. Boutique will continue to operate from Palm Springs to Los Angeles, but for passengers wanting to fly between Palm Springs and the Phoenix area, options are limited to American and Southwest.
Boutique Air’s baggage and codeshare agreements with American and United will apply to all of the newly-announced routes and are all be available for booking on each carrier’s website.
This will also be the first time in recent history that Prescott, Ariz. will be bookable via American’s website, as before now only United offered flights to the small city.
Before ending the conversation, AirlineGeeks also had the chance to ask Kondrad some questions regarding the carriers future;
(AG): Boutique Air has become quite well-known in 2020 with all of the new destinations and route announcements. Does the airline plan on continuing this pace of expansion?
(BK): Yes, we hope to continue to grow. There is a lot of opportunity due to the majors with bigger aircraft dropping routes that have not been sustainable for a 50-seat aircraft.
(AG): You began Pensacola, Fla. back in December, which was your first addition into the Florida market, and is also considered a leisure destination. Do you see the airline opening more leisure destinations in the coming months?
(BK): We are actively looking at a few other beach destinations
All flights announced in this update are now available for booking on the Boutique, American, and United’s websites. Flights and schedules are subject to change.