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Investor Group May Merge Imperial, Pacific Airlines

January 25, 1986|BILL RITTER | San Diego County Business Editor

SAN DIEGO — The group of unidentified investors who earlier this month bought a majority interest in Imperial Airlines has signed a letter of intent to buy Santa Barbara-based Pacific Coast Airlines, the company confirmed Friday.

The preliminary agreement may mean that Carlsbad-based Imperial, which shut down operations two weeks ago, will merge with Pacific Coast, according to Pacific Coast spokeswoman Trena Pauley.

Pacific Coast operates 60 daily flights from Santa Barbara to San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, Bakersfield, Monterey, Fresno and Lake Tahoe, Pauley said.

A merger of the two commuter airlines could result in a formidable carrier, given Imperial's former route system of Carlsbad to Bakersfield, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego.

The buyers have formed a firm in Kansas City called United Imperial. Their individual identities have not been disclosed.

Imperial has been in a tailspin since late 1984, when United Airlines removed the company from its "preferential treatment" reservation list. The move was ordered industrywide by the Civil Aeronautics Board, which was concerned that large carriers were using the preference lists as weapons against smaller airlines.

Imperial's monthly passenger count tumbled from nearly 30,000 in 1984 to fewer than 10,000 last month.

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