If at first you don’t succeed try to fly again. That’s not exactly how the saying goes, but it just might be close enough for California Pacific Airlines (CPA). The carrier launched operations in late 2018 out of Carlsbad/Palomar Airport in Southern California, only to close up shop a couple months later. But that was just a pause, not the end. Founder Ted Vallas tells PaxEx.Aero that the carrier intends to resume operations and it has filed the initial paperwork with the Department of Transportation to realize that goal.
Yes, yes we are planning to resume service. Definitely!– California Pacific Airlines Founder Ted Vallas
Vallas cites a “temporary stop to get away from the South Dakota weather” as part of the need for halting the operations on 28 December 2018.
But he believes that the market is right to try again now. The company must receive the appropriate licensing and operating authority from the DoT. That work is underway. The company filed the necessary documents under seal on 3 January 2020, requesting that they be treated as confidential owing to commercially sensitive details. The DoT published the filing on 6 January without any further details.
Vallas claims the “last thing we have with the DoT is setting the timeframe” for the resumption of service. Typically airlines must present financial details showing the business plan is viable and that they are appropriately backed to receive the permit to carry passengers. Other details like insurance coverage and filling key roles for maintenance and pilots are also included in the process.
The future of California Pacific Airlines
Just what will a relaunched California Pacific Airlines look like? Vallas intends to resume the operation just as it suspended, “It will be exactly what we planned from the inception, growing to seven cities served” from McClellan Airport. Vallas also says that the company “Probably is going to bring the E170 back into the picture sooner than not,” though he did not provide further specifics on that intention.
The company initially operated with an Embraer E145 operated by Aerodynamics, Inc. CPA purchased Aerodynamics to acquire is operating certificate after multiple efforts to secure its own certificate as a startup carrier failed. When the CPA experiment shut down in early 2019 it also took the Denver-based Essential Air Service operations of Aerodynamics out of service. This time around the company expects to only operate the Carlsbad routes. Vallas sees continued growth in the area as helping to support his goal of a sustainable, home-town airline for the region.
The last service in Carlsbad by a network carrier came from United Airlines. That operation halted in 2015 as the EMB120 fleet retired. Cal Jet (operated by Elite Airways) briefly operated from the airport in 2017 and then the 2018 iteration of California Pacific gave it a go as well.