Boutique Air (4B, San Francisco, CA) is in talks to add an unspecified number of Piaggio Aerospace (Genoa) Avanti turboprop aircraft to its fleet, Chief Executive Officer Shawn Simpson has revealed. Until this development, the California-based operator's fleet had entailed four Beech (twin turboprop) King Air 350s and twenty-five PC-12s.

Speaking to The Courier-Observer newspaper, Simpson said Boutique Air had recently acquired one Avanti with more to arrive in due course. In a follow-up response to ch-aviation, Simpson declined to specify the exact number to be acquired given negotiations on purchases were still ongoing.

According to the CEO, the recent US government shutdown has kept Boutique Air from adding any planes to its fleet.

“We’ve not been able to add to our operation because the FAA is closed. They’re opened for very light types of activities. If it didn’t have to do directly with passenger safety, they’re not going to do anything about it,” he said.

Given the uniqueness of the aircraft and the need to build crew familiarity, the airline will likely not press it into scheduled passenger service, at least not immediately.

“We’re really excited about it. At the same time, it takes time to get to know an airplane, work it into your fleet and have all the spare parts, proper training of mechanics and pilot operation,” he said. “Likely what we’ll do is use them initially as rescue aircraft because they are so fast.”

Founded in 2007, Boutique Air operates as a premium-niche carrier serving 32 towns and cities spread across Arizona, Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas.