By Vanessa Kahin
Effective Tuesday, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport became just one hour and 45 minutes away from Clovis.
Boutique Air started flying passenger flights out of the Clovis Municipal Airport to DFW on Tuesday, Airport Director Gene Bieker confirmed.
All flights are to DFW, Bieker said. He said that on weekdays there will be flights every morning, afternoon and evening.
According to Boutique Air’s website, there will be two flights on Saturday — one in the morning, one in the afternoon — and one evening flight on Sundays.
For City Manager Joe Thomas, the newly installed passenger flights are the culmination of years of determination.
“We’ve worked for several years to try to get service to Clovis to some eastbound port,” Thomas said, adding that from DFW, passengers may connect to “any (major) point in the world.”
Bieker said passengers have already booked flights months in advance.
Clovis has been without air service since Jan. 31, when Great Lakes abruptly terminated its service to the city.
Boutique Air, a San Francisco-based, regional airline, and SeaPort Airlines of Portland, Oregon, had both vied to pick up air service in and out of Clovis under the Department of Transportation’s Essential Air Service (EAS) Program.
The DOT approved Boutique to provide EAS to passengers in Clovis to DFW for two years. The DOT also approved the use of Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, which seats nine passengers.
Bieker said during a Civil Aviation Board meeting May 6 that Boutique Air had 90 days from the posting of the approval to begin services. The approval was dated April 19 and posted on the DOT website April 22.
Boutique’s original proposal for bid included 24 flights a week to DFW, with a possibility of flights to Albuquerque, Bieker said during the May 6 meeting.
However, in its approval, the DOT left out any mention of flights to Albuquerque.
“Boutique is still discussing (air service to Albuquerque),” Bieker said Tuesday afternoon. “But that would be four to six months down the road; and that’s if they do it. I don’t know if they will or not.”