Boutique awaits DOT decision

By on Monday, April 25th, 2022 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

PENDLETON – Everything from the cost of fuel to the travel restrictions due to the pandemic have impacted essential air service providers across the nation. Boutique Air in Pendleton submitted a form entitled ‘Notice of Termination of Service’ to the U.S. Department of Transportation which funds the EAS program.

In turn, as is routine, the DOT issued an order to continue air service and a call for proposals to provide the Pendleton to Portland service. There was only one response to the RFP, and that was from Boutique.

“According to Airport Manager John Honemann, it is likely Boutique will be awarded the bid and that their services will continue here in Pendleton with probably more grant money,” City Manager Robb Corbett said.

Boutique gave Honemann a number of reasons for filing the original notice. They included fuel costs, a pilot shortage, supply chain issues, and that air travel has not yet rebounded to pre-pandemic levels on the Pendleton to Portland route.

Honemann said that Boutique isn’t the only essential air service provider experiencing economic difficulties. Skywest, a major EAS provider based in Utah, submitted the same form to the DOT for 29 communities based on similar economic challenges.