Boutique terminating Massena air service contract to re-bid at a better rate
BY ADAM ATKINSON
North Country This Week
MASSENA — Boutique Air plans to terminate its current contract to provide essential air service out of Massena International Airport in an effort to re-bid for better terms.
On Aug. 29, Boutique CEO Shawn Simpson officially gave a 90-day notice that the company would terminate the current arrangement “with the intention to re-bid at a subsidy that will support ongoing operations.”“In light of substantial general inflation and fuel price increases our current Massena EAS contract is no longer profitable. This is a problem that is fairly easily remedied, however,” Simpson said in a letter to the Town of Massena, which manages the airport.
“Boutique Air is more than willing to continue flying for the community of Massena, but it must be properly financially resourced,” Simpson said. “As such, Boutique Air will be filing a notice to terminate the current contract so that the contract can be re-bid at a subsidy rate that will allow Boutique Air to operate at a profit instead of a loss. By filing this notice it will initiate an open bidding process.”
In the letter, Simpson told town leadership that Boutique’s goal is to continue operating from the airport, while being able to compensate employees fairly and to keep up maintenance on its existing air craft fleet of 26 Pilatus PC-12 airplanes.
The U.S. Department of Transportation selected Boutique Air to provide essential air service in Massena in March 2021. The 2-year contract would expire in March 2023. Under the contract, Boutique is paid around $3.4 million in subsidy by the DOT to operate the service in both the first and second year of the contract. Once the contract is terminated the federal agency will call for new bids from air service providers, giving Boutique a new opportunity to secure a new contract at a higher rate.
“The re-bid process is the pathway to achieve such results going forward. The process will provide an opportunity for Massena to recommend Boutique Air or a different carrier if so desired,” Simpson writes to the town. “We wanted to provide this explanation to you so that there is no confusion concerning our intentions in initiating this termination of contract process with the DOT.”