A second scheduled daily flight between Victoria and Dallas will make its debut Thursday.
“It’s really good because the community has been asking for a second flight to Dallas,” Lenny Llerena, executive director of the Victoria Regional Airport, said at the Victoria County Commissioners Court meeting Monday. “Specifically, a flight that can take people to Dallas, allow them to do their business and come back.”
The new Boutique Air flight departs from Victoria Regional Airport at 6 a.m. and arrives at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport at 7:25 a.m. It is available Monday-Saturday.
Victoria City Manager Jesús Garza said earlier this month he was frustrated with Boutique’s current flight schedule.
“I personally, in the two months that I’ve been here, have literally not booked Boutique Air twice because of the schedule to Dallas not working out with what I had going on,” said Garza at a recent Victoria Partnership meeting.
Llerena said the new flight is something to celebrate, even though Boutique Airlines has had several issues with flight cancellations and delays.
“We have to look at the results,” Llerena said. “Even with those few cancellations and those few delays, we’re still carrying more than double what the previous airline carried.”
Llerena said the new flight will increase the number of passengers the airport sees daily. The Department of Transportation requires that a community maintain an average of 10 passengers or more each service day within the fiscal year to be eligible for the Essential Air Service program, which subsidizes commuter and certified air carriers to serve areas that otherwise would not receive any scheduled air service.
“We are way, way above that,” Llerena said.
Boutique Air gets between 30 and 40 passengers a day, Llerena said.
The Essential Air Service has another requirement: In a fiscal year, the per-passenger subsidy amount, or the total amount of the subsidy divided by the number of passengers during the fiscal year, cannot exceed $200.
Llerena said the new flight will help the airport meet this requirement by increasing the number of passengers. In the next fiscal year, Llerena said he hopes to avoid asking the Department of Transportation for a waiver.
“Most likely, next year we will not need a waiver,” Llerena said. “We’re recovering from years and years of terrible service and the community not trusting the flights. We’re not perfect yet, but we’re doing a lot better.”