Wednesday, August 09, 2017

First flight from Inyokern Airport (KIYK) takes off Tuesday

INYOKERN — At just before 5:40 a.m. on Tuesday, Indian Wells Valley Airport District board member Steven Morgan popped open the bottle of champagne, poured a few glasses and made a toast with fellow board member Russ Bates in a mostly empty but pristine air terminal.

They toasted to the first commuter flight leaving Inyokern Airport in nearly four years.

At around 6:30 a.m., Boutique Air’s Swiss-made Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprop aircraft left the runway, flying to Los Angeles International Airport with seven souls aboard, including Morgan and IYK manager Scott Seymour. Board President Paul Valovich observed as it flew off.

The first flight marked a major milestone for Inyokern Airport. For nearly four years, the airport has been without commercial air service, since SkyWest Airlines pulled out in November 2013.

On July 6, the airport district signed an agreement with Boutique Air to restart air service. Two flights come to and from LAX per day on the eight-seat airplane. Service was made possible in part by a $450,000 grant from the Department of Transportation in 2015, along with $100,000 in pledges from local businesses and private donors.

Last week, the Transportation Security Administration was busy setting up equipment at the airport terminal. The first Boutique airplane flew into Inyokern Monday night in advance of Tuesday’s flight.

“When I first ran for the airport board I said one of my goals was to get an airline here,” Morgan said prior to boarding. “With a great board and a lot of work from Scott Seymour and Nicole Hale, and a lot of tribulation, here we are four years later.”

Morgan said he was ecstatic to be on the first flight.

“It’s always nice to see one of your goals come through,” Morgan said.

Seymour noted the last flight to leave Inyokern, Nov. 4, 2013, was the first of a long haul toward regaining airport service.

“I said I would be on the first flight,” Seymour said. “It means a lot for the airport [for Boutique to be here].”

Seymour said he would drive back from LAX after arriving.

Bates agrees that Tuesday’s flight has been a long time coming.

“This is a day we’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” said Russ Bates. “It’s been four years that we haven’t had air service and we’ve gone through two or three others to get them in here. This is the first one that is going to take off and go to LA, so it’s wonderful.”

He said the next goal is to see “more people using this and we can probably add another airplane on the busy mornings.”

The current airfare for a one-way non-refundable ticket to LAX starts at just over $59. Seymour said those rates are introductory to get people on board. Once the introductory rates expire, prices may bump up.

Seymour said the rates are still “a heck of a lot cheaper than SkyWest.” At the time when SkyWest pulled out in November, airfare exceeded $400.

Boutique operates flights out of two other California airports: Merced Regional Airport and Oakland International. Currently, those are the only two other destinations passengers can fly into via Boutique after a brief layover at LAX. Those wishing to travel to other destinations like Las Vegas or Washington, D.C. would need to book a separate flight on a different airline.

For more information and to book a flight, visit

Story and photo gallery ➤

No comments:

Post a Comment