California Pacific Airlines

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California Pacific Airlines
CP Air logo.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 2009
Operating bases McClellan-Palomar Airport
Fleet size 1 Returned to Lessor
Destinations 7 (planned)
Headquarters McClellan-Palomar Airport
Carlsbad, California, U.S.
Key people Ted Vallas (Founder & Chairman)
John Selvaggio (President & CEO)

California Pacific Airlines (CP Air)[1] is a planned airline that is headquartered on the grounds of McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad, California.[2]


In 2009, 89-year-old Ted Vallas proposed starting a new airline out of Palomar Airport. Vallas, a San Diego County businessperson from North County, had previously operated Air Resorts Airlines, wanted to create a San Diego County-based airline.[3]

The planned start of operations had been pushed back to the fall of 2012 from late 2011, due to delays in obtaining approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.[4] At the time, the airline had about $14 million in assets, all Vallas' money, with plans to raise up to $32 million more from private investment.[4]

On August 10, 2011, the DOT issued a preliminary show cause order to approve the required interstate certificate authority for Carlsbad-Palomar Airlines, Inc. d/b/a California Pacific Airlines (“CP Air”). The department found CP Air is fit, willing, and able to provide interstate air transportation of persons, property, and mail, and should be issued a Certificate of Public Convenience. After 14 days on August 24, 2011, no objections were filed by other parties and this DOT order was made final.

On September 9, 2011, CP Air's application for Part 121 certification was accepted by the FAA. The company has also passed it first formal application meeting which tests the company's knowledge of processes and procedures of its operations manual system.

By February 6, 2012, California Pacific had passed Phase I of the FAA's formal Part 121 certification process. At the time, California Pacific was the only US applicant airline in the process.[5]

Phase II of the application process began after a lease was signed for at least one aircraft. This phase, known as design assessment, is a detailed page by page assessment of the airline's manual system and training procedures. This was expected to be completed by the summer of 2012. Phase III will involve a physical review of an aircraft's layout followed by proving runs. Proving runs are simulated full flight operations without passengers. It is designed to assess an applicant's performance in actual flight operations. Successful completion of proving runs is the final step before regulatory approval would be granted for a Part 121 certificate.[6]

California Pacific's first Embraer 170 aircraft, seen parked at McClellan-Palomar Airport.

California Pacific's first 72-seat Embraer 170 arrived in Carlsbad on July 6, 2012.[7] The Embraer 170, previously N176EC, had previously been operated by now-defunct Cirrus Airlines.[8] The aircraft's registration changed to N760CP, in honor of the home town area code, following approval by the FAA on August 30.

In November 2013, the FAA informed CP Air that it would be sometime in 2014 before they can complete review of the revised application. CEO John Selvaggio told a reporter that the employees had been furloughed and he was returning to his Florida home. The one aircraft delivered was returned to the aircraft maker to save the reported $200,000 monthly rent.[9]

As of April 2015, Carlsbad airport city manager considered the airline "defunct".[citation needed]

In March 2016, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the airline stated that the airline could open in as little as four months, though county officials indicated they believed the process would take longer. By that time, the airline's planes had changed to begin operations with 30-seat Embraer ERJ-135 jets, and add the Embraer 170 at a later date.[10]


By the end of 2013,[11] the airline hoped to begin service from McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad, CA to three cities in California (Oakland, Sacramento, and San Jose), Phoenix, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada, and later, Cabo San Lucas. By 2015, the airline planned to serve destinations as far east as the Midwest United States and Canada. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer said that the airline's flight model resembles the point to point service established by Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA), though the airline will not market itself as a low-cost airline.[1] Vallas said that he wants to emulate PSA's style, and CP Air's staff at the time of its founding included several former PSA employees.[12]


California Pacific Airlines initially proposed operating a fleet of Embraer 170 aircraft. One aircraft was delivered to the airline in June 2012 and painted in California Pacific livery. After sitting parked for several months at McClellan–Palomar Airport in Carlsbad, the aircraft was subleased to Honeywell Aerospace, which operated it on several test flights from Deer Valley Airport in Phoenix, Arizona.[13] By November 2013, the aircraft had been returned to its lessor.

In March 2016, the airline was reported to be planning to begin operations with a fleet of three Embraer ERJ-135 aircraft, with the Embraer 170 to be added at a later date.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Carlsbad Palomar Airport to be the home of California Pacific Airlines." Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved on May 15, 2010.
  2. ^ "Contact." California Pacific Airlines. Retrieved on May 15, 2010. "California Pacific Airlines 2198-E Palomar Airport Rd Carlsbad, CA 92011 "
  3. ^ "New airline gets ready to take off from Carlsbad." KFMB-TV. April 1, 2010. Updated on April 28, 2010. Retrieved on May 15, 2010.
  4. ^ a b "California Pacific Airlines Plans Take Wing By Early 2012". June 6, 2011. Archived from the original on June 12, 2011. Retrieved June 12, 2011. 
  5. ^ "[1]." North County Times. February 6, 2012.
  6. ^ "Proposed New Airline in Carlsbad Clears First FAA Hurdle." San Diego Business Journal. September 14, 2011.
  7. ^ "[2]." North County Times. June 18, 2012.
  8. ^ volaspheric: Start-up California Pacific Airlines to receive first Embraer 170
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b Molnar, Phillip (March 10, 2016). "Struggling airline startup says it is close to takeoff". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved March 11, 2016. 
  11. ^ Goodman, Deanne (April 12, 2013). "California Pacific Airlines Hopes to Fly in November". Carlsbad Patch. Retrieved April 15, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Wings of Destiny". Carlsbad Magazine. Retrieved May 15, 2010. 
  13. ^ "FAA: Can’t Process New CA Airline Application Due to Sequester – Really?". Fox & Hounds. 17 May 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 

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