Boutique Air president tells Massena board they have restructured management to fix service issues
By ANDY GARDNER
North Country Now
MASSENA -- A Boutique Air official said the airline has restructured their management to better address issues in attempt to persuade the Town Council to give them another Essential Air Service Contract.
Boutique president and founder Shawn Simpson proposed keeping daily flights to Boston and possibly adding a Baltimore or Pittsburgh destination.They now use Pilatus PC-12 single-engine propeller planes. They are looking at adding twin-prop Piaggio Avanti airplanes, which he says are more fuel-efficient and are about as fast as a jet.
He said they are also partnered with United, so travelers would be able to take advantage of through-ticketing and baggage on connecting flights. People would also be able to use the same United frequent flyer points program that Skywest offers as a United partner.
Boutique is also starting an interline partnership with American Airlines in December.
"We're going to start talks with Delta, too," Simpson said.
Following complaints in Massena about inadequate customer service, Simpson said they have restructured their management to better handle problems.
"We were told that customer service-wise, someone would be at the counter from the very first flight in the morning until the last flight of the day. I don't think that's happening even today," Councilor Tom Miller said.
"The previous organizational structure we had ... was not working as well as it could, for exactly the reasons we're talking about here," Simpson said. "Literally in the last month or so, our previous director of customer service in San Francisco was trying to manage all these people. He wanted to create a different structure ... took that opportunity to reorganize our customer service and create regional managers with our most senior people."
He said they are paying the regional managers based on how successful their airports are.
"It's incentive," he said. "I want you (town officials) communicating with the airport managers, airport directors."
"Some of the changes he's talking about ... there's better communication going on." "In the last couple weeks it's improved," said Highway Superintendent Frank Diagostino, who oversees the airport.
Simpson said the regional managers will be keeping tabs on each other's regions and reporting back to him.
"Their job is to be doing audits on cities that are not theirs," Simpson said. "A regional manager from Denver or wherever is going to be showing up here and check out what's going on."
"We have a lot of employees. I love to trust all of them 100%. But when you have hundreds of people, some are not going to be as trustworthy as others ... It's taken some time to come up with this ... and the idea is checks and balances and not believing everything is good. We're going to check."
He said that they are keeping their flights priced under $100.