New Airline Set to Fly Out of Carlsbad

A bold move to bring business and pleasure to North County

One thing you'll rarely find at Carlsbad's McClellan-Palomar Airport is a crowd.

United Express is the only regularly-scheduled commercial airline flying out of Palomar, offering only flights to Los Angeles.

Local businessman Ted Vallas plans to change all that.

California Pacific Airlines, is the last of the many business ventures 91-year-old Vallas will have tackled in his lifetime.

The new airline based in San Diego will launch with two 70-passenger jets offering flights to the Bay Area, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Cabo San Lucas.

The customer base will draw from the million plus people living in the North County and will offer something Lindbergh Field can’t – ease of travel.

“Parking is easy, the cost to park is a lot less expensive,” said Callaway Golf Chief Financial Officer Brad Holiday.

Holiday said the North County airline can be good for families and business.

“If you have to drag kids through a big airport, it’s sometimes easier if you have a good solution or good option in terms of an airline to take you place,” he said.

Vallas said the new venture needs only 15 percent of the people traveling through Lindbergh Field to satisfy the first two phases of the operation.

Debra Rosen with San Diego North Chamber of Commerce thinks it’s a good move for the economy too.

“It fulfills a lot of needs both for the executive and for the region,” Rosen said.

Another advantage to a Carlsbad-based airline that may attract customers is the time it takes to get to Palomar Airport.

Drew Gunderson says he'd consider driving north from his Mira Mesa home to catch a flight.

“If we could get here with the family, it’s family-friendly, I would have no problems coming here over Lindbergh,” Gunderson said.

Vallas believes California Pacific Airlines can be competitive with major airline carriers departing from Lindbergh Field closer to downtown.

“When you add the other savings that [travelers] would have, we would not only compete but we would be much better off,” Vallas said.

In just four years, Vallas plans to fly 20 aircraft to 25 cities.

The first flight for California Pacific Airlines is scheduled for October 15.

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