Boutique Airlines fires 2 pilots, pulls out of Gogebic-Iron Co. Airport

This comes after an emergency exit door came off a Boutique Airlines plane last week before take-off of a flight from Minneapolis to Ironwood.
Many were in attendance at the Gogebic-Iron County Airport board meeting Monday, May 10, 2021.
Many were in attendance at the Gogebic-Iron County Airport board meeting Monday, May 10, 2021.(KBJR-TV/WLUC)
Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 6:20 PM EDT
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IRONWOOD, Mich. (KBJR/WLUC) - The flight provider in Gogebic County is stopping service there, following an emergency exit door coming off a Boutique Airlines plane last week just before take-off.

The Gogebic Iron County Airport’s only commercial airline, Boutique Airlines, will stop serving their region after an emergency exit door flew off moments before take-off last week. The incident happened on a flight from Minneapolis to Ironwood on Wednesday, May 5.

“We’re not trying to hide or deny anything,” said Shawn Simpson, CEO of Boutique Airlines during a Gogebic-Iron County Airport board meeting Monday.

Several Boutique Airline representatives listened to the passenger’s frightening experiences onboard the aircraft at the meeting.

“It happened so fast, and it was so unusual,” said Mike Parra, a Colorado resident who was on board the flight. “We’re all looking at each other like ‘did that just really happen?’”

“I’m sitting there looking at my daughter hanging out this door. Except for the safety strap, she would’ve been on the floor,” said another gentleman at the meeting.

Company representatives responded saying the two pilots on board that flight failed to complete a pre-flight checklist, causing the door to open moments before take-off. Simpson said both pilots were put on leave until an investigation was complete, and both pilots’ employment with the airline was terminated on Sunday, May 9.

During the meeting, passengers and county board members expressed frustration over the airlines’ lack of immediate response.

“The fact that they can’t just call your company or that your company doesn’t step up to the line and say ‘this is the right thing to do, we need to take care of these people,’” said County Board member Brandon Snyder.

On Monday, Boutique Airline representatives said they plan to resign from their contract with the Gogebic-Iron County Airport; but did not give an exact reason why. They will, however, continue to provide services until the airport finds another option.

The San Francisco-based airline claimed Monday they’ve never had any issues like this before.

According to the Chicago Department of Aviation, on January 26, 2021, a wheel fell off a Boutique Airlines flight headed from Ironwood to Chicago. No one was hurt in either of these incidents.

Boutique Air also flies out of about three dozen other airports around the country.

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