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Advanced Air Beats Boutique Air to EAS Contract for Merced

Hawthorne, Calif. based-Advanced Air has won the Essential Air Service contract for its second EAS city. The contract it won, is for the community of Merced, Calif. and won the contract over local San Francisco-based Boutique Air.

Advanced Air flights to the northern Californian city will begin on Jan. 1, 2022, and will be operating 24-weekly round trip flights to LAX and 12-weekly round trip flights to Las Vegas. With the change of the carrier from Boutique to Advanced LAX flights will remain, but they will be losing service to Sacramento.

The type of aircraft that is scheduled to operate the flights also won’t change, both Advanced and Boutique are using 8-9 seat Pilatus PC-12s according to the DOT document regarding the EAS contract. Advanced has said that its King Air would occasionally be substituted in to avoid any delays or cancellations due to regular maintenance schedules. Although not directly under their titles, Advanced Air does currently already operate PC-12’s on behalf of California-based Surf Air.

Advanced Airlines Current Route map as of Oct.2021 (Photo: Advanced Airlines)

The biggest change on the airline side of this will be location, as prior to now Advanced Air only operates out of FBO’s at the larger airports and all of its flights operate non-sterile. With this new route, the airline will be operating out of the main passenger terminals in both LAX and Las Vegas. Another change for passengers will be the codeshares or the lack of them. The current carrier, Boutique Air, has interline and baggage agreements with both United and American meaning bags can transfer through to the larger carriers’ flights. Advanced Air doesn’t have any partners at all, for now, the carrier did mention that they now have more opportunities for now that they will be operating our of LAX and Las Vegas.

Advanced Air has also made its flight schedule into Merced so that it will align with the YARTS bus. The YARTS bus is a scheduled transit system that makes pick-ups/drop off’s directly at the Merced airport terminal and will transport passengers to the Yosemite National Park.

The contract in Merced runs from Jan.1, 2022, for four years, until Dec.31, 2025. The subsidy rate will be $3,552,016 for the first year, $3,658,576 for the second year, $3,768,333 for the third year and $3,881,383 for the fourth year.

Flights and schedules are subject to change.

Joey Gerardi


  • Joey Gerardi

    Joe has always been interested in planes, for as long as he can remember. He grew up in Central New York during the early 2000s when US Airways Express turboprops ruled the skies. Being from a non-aviation family made it harder for him to be around planes and would only spend about three hours a month at the airport. He was so excited when he could drive by himself and the first thing he did with the license was get ice cream and go plane spotting for the entire day. When he has the time (and money) he likes to take spotting trips to any location worth a visit. He’s currently enrolled at Western Michigan University earning a degree in Aviation Management and Operations.

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