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New air service debuts out of Norfolk International Airport with new destinations

Posted at 1:36 PM, Nov 01, 2020

NORFOLK, Va. - Starting Sunday, regional air carrier Boutique Air will begin service out of Norfolk International Airport to Baltimore and Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

The airline connects small towns that major airline carriers may not service with major cities.

Brian Kondrad, the airline's vice president of business operations, told News 3 Boutique Air chose to start service to and from Norfolk because it is a popular destination for those traveling from Johnstown and central Pennsylvania.

"There has been analysis done by different market share programs. People have purchased tickets in Altoona and in Johnstown with their final destination being Norfolk, so there are a few people," Kondrad explained.

The airline's fleet does not consist of airplanes seen on major carriers-- such as Airbuses, Boeings or CRJs -- but small turboprop planes. Those include PC-12s and King Air 350s.

Kondrad added that though the planes may be small, the ride is comfortable and also suitable for winter travel. The planes can seat roughly eight to 10 passengers, as the airline's motto is, "Fly private for the cost of commercial."

"We don't have any bag fees; we don't have any change fees; we don't have any unaccompanied minor fees," Kondrad added.

Boutique Air also has an agreement with United Airlines. Passengers booking with boutique, Kondrad explained, can use their United MilagePlus account details when booking to get points from Boutique flights.

"When you have airliners that, you know, their smallest plane is 50 passengers, and there's only a few of those left and then it goes up to the 76 passenger plane, if you only have one passenger on that plane, that's extremely difficult for the airline to maintain every day," Kondrad said. "But with an aircraft like ours that seats eight passengers, that's a full flight."

The service to Johnstown will end on December 2, Kondrad said, and that is because starting January 1, Boutique Air will switch service to and from Altoona, Pennsylvania. Both towns are under an hour apart from each other when traveling by ground.

As for new Boutique Air destinations, Kondrad said, "I cannot say where we're looking to connect Norfolk, but it's a highly requested location."

Boutique Air's check-in counter is between United and Allegiant Air's check-in counters. The airport administration told News 3 passengers would be escorted to the tarmac where passengers will board instead of using the jet bridge.