Friday, August 31, 2018

First Boutique Air flyers land at Telluride Regional (KTEX): New commercial service celebrated by airline, airport board and Colorado Flights Alliance

Boutique Air Flight 732 receives sustenance on the tarmac of Telluride Regional Airport Wednesday, shortly after completing the airline’s inaugural Denver-to-Telluride route. 

Descending the airstair of a Pilatus PC-12 plane Wednesday, a Texas couple made one small step for man, one giant leap for continued commercial air service to Telluride Regional Airport (KTEX). 

Brad and Jill Renner, of Austin, joined five other passengers and two pilots on Boutique Air Flight 732, the airline’s inaugural flight from Denver International Airport to TEX.   

Although the service was only disclosed last week, Jill Renner “just happened to be on Instagram when it was announced, so I canceled our flight (from Denver) to Montrose, and booked these seats on Boutique to Telluride.”  

Said Brad Renner, “This is our 9th time here for Telluride Film Festival, and we’re happy to reach town so quickly. Everyone was all smiles on the flight. The weather was good. The views were good. The pilot was good.” 

Before the flight arrived, Matt Skinner, Colorado Flights Alliance COO, and Boutique welcomed about 20 interested parties to an airport reception, featuring a selection of cheeses and charcuterie from Over the Moon. The mood was light as attendees assembled in the upstairs observation deck to see the single-engine plane drop gracefully from a clear blue sky to the runway. 

Boutique’s planes certainly differ from those used to serve Telluride by Great Lakes Aviation before that airline dropped service in March. In contrast to Great Lake’s aging 19-seaters, Boutique is flying newish luxurious planes — Pilatus PC-12s and Beechcraft King Air 350s — that host eight passengers in wide, first-class-like leather seats that recline. A peek inside the PC-12 revealed plentiful legroom, easy-to-reach power outlets and elegant wood paneling. 

All Boutique Air flights will have two pilots onboard, although only one is required for the smaller planes. As Boutique Air CEO Shawn Simpson recently told the Aviation Tribune, “Two pilots give you peace of mind, and it is truly safer. And when things get complicated in the air, it’s really good to have another pilot there to help out.”

Shortly after landing Wednesday, copilot Chris Lawler described his first landing at TEX as “very exciting. It felt like flying a private plane. But it was very smooth, and memorable only for being the first. Pilots enjoy unmemorable flights like today’s.” 

Lawler added that he’d watched numerous videos to prepare for landing at TEX, but that the natural beauty was still astounding. “This (9,078 feet above sea level) runway is very high for us,” he said. 

Indeed it is, and mountain weather occasionally caused Great Lakes flights to divert to Montrose. Boutique, Lawler said, would likely divert flights to Cortez Municipal Airport, which has hosted Boutique since 2016. 

On Wednesday, two Boutique counters were operating within the terminal; one was manned by Jennifer Armstrong, Boutique’s interim team leader for the airport. Working on a laptop, Armstrong said she needed Centurylink to come by and iron out some internet service issues, but that operations were going smoothly so far. 

Armstrong acknowledged that summer flying in the mountains differed from winter flying. 

“As operations permit,” she said, “we’ll want to be year-round here. We do have to look at the demands of skiers, to see what their baggage compartment needs will be. We’ll probably have to use our King Air 350s in winter to accommodate bigger bags and skis.” 

Original article can be found here ➤

1 comment:

  1. is this another subsidized airline. Sad waste of money