Massena board backs Boutique Air

Boutique Air was chosen by Massena Town Council on Tuesday as its recommendation to the U.S. Department of Transportation to continue at its Essential Air Service provider. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — Boutique Air has been serving as the Essential Air Service provider at the Massena International Airport since mid-2017, and it’s hoping to continue beyond March 2021 when its contract expires.

Boutique Air will be one of three airlines making a presentation to the Massena Town Council on Monday. The meeting was originally scheduled for 4 p.m., but has been pushed back to 5 p.m. It will be streamed on the town of Massena’s Facebook page.

Tom Warren, Boutique Air’s vice president of business development, said there’s been a strong relationship between the airline and the town of Massena since the airline was selected twice to serve as the town’s Essential Air Service provider. He said Massena was fortunate to have leadership that made sure the needs of travelers are met.

“They do a great job with the Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C. They ensure Massena continues to get Essential Air Service funding for the town. They make sure the town’s needs are met. They work with whoever is the selected airline partner to ensure quality service. We plan to continue to work with the town to continue providing safe, fast service” that’s also economical for passengers, he said.

One of the latest requests that the town has made to the Department of Transportation is to allow Boutique Air to change their schedule to provide two round-trip flights to Boston Logan International Airport and one round-trip flight to Baltimore-Washington International Airport. They currently provide three round-trip flights to Boston daily.

“The idea behind switching to Baltimore is that Southwest and Spirit can connect Massena residents all over the country,” Mr. Warren said.

Passengers connecting from Massena International Airport to Boston now have direct flight options to and from Florida, specifically Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Fort Myers and Tampa on United Airlines. Boutique Air has an interline agreement with United, which allows travelers to get off a Boutique plane in Boston and go directly to United for their connecting flights to Florida.

Boutique Air also offers flights to the Norfolk, Va. and Virginia Beach area.

Boutique Air currently flies Massena passengers on their Pilatus PC-12 aircraft. Mr. Warren, who has more than 40 years of experience as a commercial pilot, started with Boutique Air in 2018 as a Pilatus captain before joining the leadership team. So he’s familiar with the plane.

“I’ve had the privilege of flying in and out of Massena on a variety of occasions. From my perspective, the aircraft we fly are fast, pressurized and all-weather aircraft,” Mr. Warren said.

He said the Pilatus’s features include “nice, comfortable executive seats and fully enclosed bathrooms.” They provide passengers with water and snacks during the flight.

“It’s a pretty comfortable flight over a short distance,” Mr. Warren said. “Right now Boutique is the largest operator of the Pilatus PC-12. That experience is important to the town and travelers. It means we have provided safe, reliable transport. That is what our job is for the town of Massena.”

If they’re selected for the third time as the town’s Essential Air Service provider, Mr. Warren said they plan to continue setting aside funds to support marketing efforts in the community. They recently sponsored the town’s Big Bass Blowout at the Massena Intake.

“We realize it’s important to support the community. We realize it’s important to promote it,” he said.

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