North County residents planning a Las Vegas getaway in the future now have a new way to get to Sin City.
Cal Jet by Elite Airways announced Wednesday it is launching nonstop jet services from McClellan-Palomar Airport (CLD) in Carlsbad to McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas.
"It's been a long time coming, but finally it has arrived -- a real airline offering activity to the public with a new scheduled transportation alternative," said Peter Drinkwater, Director of County Airports.
For years, CLD has been home to corporate and private planes. Now, it has a commercial partner.
The County of San Diego has invested millions of dollars to improve the terminal, which is now ready for the airline to move in and for TSA to come in and operate screening procedures.
Wednesday, a large group gathered on the tarmac to celebrate the launch.
"Our beautiful but vacant county airport terminal facility has been several years waiting for this day to arrive," Drinkwater said.
But easy access and convenience are only part of the benefit to North County travelers.
"New twice-daily service to Las Vegas will greatly benefit the airport and greater North San Diego County by generating positive revenue sources and new jobs—while saving north county residents hours of unnecessary drive time and long lines," said Robert Daly, CEO of Cal Jet by Elite Airways.
Right now, the airline is also offering online airfares to Las Vegas for as low as $69 one way, competing with larger airline companies like Southwest.
George Wozniak, the company's president, told NBC 7 that the airline will not charge a premium for flying out of CLD.
Wozniak said the company chose Las Vegas as their first destination for the launch for a number of reasons.
"We needed leisure potential to drive that market because leisure travelers buy closer in, believe it or not," Wozniak said. "It's a very big business destination too, but the combined two will make this successful just operating one city."
Cal Jet by Elite Airways' Bombardier CRJ-700 jet aircraft has six first class seats and 58 all-leather seats in the coach cabin.
Passengers will also get free snacks and beverages onboard, a first checked baggage up to 50 pounds and no seat reservation fees, according to the airline.
At this time, company executives will not disclose which cities they will target next. But they do say the airline will expand its services.
The first flight out of Carlsbad to Las Vegas will be on Sept. 28.