Washington County residents and those nearby will soon have the advantage of boarding a direct flight from the Port City to the Music City of Nashville as they once did not so long ago.
The Greenville City Council voted unanimously for Boutique Airlines to forego its Atlanta route from Greenville and begin routes to Nashville during their regular Tuesday meeting.
The decision to make the switch came after an airport committee meeting held on last Thursday and a conference call with airport director Sam Washington and Boutique Airlines director of operations, Brian Konrad.
Washington said he and Konrad discussed the fact there was a significant decrease in traffic to Atlanta due to COVID-19.
“It obviously does not make economic sense to continue sending aircraft to Atlanta,” Washington said.
According to Konrad, the airline is booked for only five flights departing Greenville and arriving in Atlanta between now and November, hence the airline’s recommendation to pick up the Nashville route.
“They are seeing some traffic still in Nashville they believe they could still take advantage of,” Washington told the council. “People are seeming to stay more regional now and going to Atlanta is usually a sign that folks are going outside of the region and that has just fallen off.
“It’s not just Boutique, it’s airline wide right now and the reality of where we are.”
The airline will retain the Dallas route.
Councilman Al Brock inquired as to when the route switch would go into effect.
Washington said there’s a strong probability that the Nashville route would start near the end of this month or near the first of September.
The council voted unanimously to approve Boutique Airlines’ recommendation to offer direct flights from the Mid-Delta Regional Airport to Nashville.
Washington County Economic Alliance executive director Will Coppage said he knows county residents will be very excited about the route.
In addition, Washington said it is “just a hope right now,” but Boutique Airlines is seriously exploring the possibility of a weekend route to New Orleans.
“They are actively looking at it and they are studying it to see if it could work … I’m very hopeful for that and I’m very excited that they are finally considering that because I’ve been trying to get them to do that since I’ve been here, but nothing is concrete yet,” he said.
The council also approved Washington’s request to fill the vacancy of a maintenance position.
Washington highlighted the airport’s apron renovation project is expecting grant funds to become available as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently pushing the grant through. He said he expects the paperwork for the grant, which calls for a quick turnaround, as soon as this week.
The Taxiway Bravo project, however, has been put on hold because of the exhaustion of federal funds for this current fiscal year.
Washington said the project was being funded through a supplemental grant and hopefully, it will be considered for funding again in the upcoming fiscal year.