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California Pacific Airlines still trying to get off the ground

February 25, 2013|By Hugo Martin
  • A California Pacific Airlines jet, reflected in the windows of McLellan-Palomar Airport near Carlsbad.
A California Pacific Airlines jet, reflected in the windows of McLellan-Palomar… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

An airline that was planned to begin flying out of Carlsbad last year is still struggling to complete federal regulations to launch operations.

California Pacific Airlines, based out of McClellan-Palomar Airport, is the brainchild of Ted Vallas, a 91-year-old businessman from Encinitas.

In the midst of airline bankruptcies and mergers, Vallas has invested more than $6 million of his own money to fulfill his dream, which he had hoped would be in operation by now. He had planned to fly to the Bay Area, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Phoenix and other short-haul destinations.

The airline filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation to prove that the company was financially fit to operate. It was scheduled to be completed in August 2012.

Federal officials said they gave California Pacific Airlines an extension until Monday, Feb. 25, to complete the process, and the airline has requested another extension, until March 10.

Tom Morrow, a spokesman for the airline, said most of the delays so far are due to discrepancies over regulations.

"I think the Wright brothers invented the airplane in less time than this," he joked.

A key to completing the process now, Morrow said, is to hire a director of operations, which he said should happen soon.

Morrow said he hopes to have the final approval completed by March 10, with the airline ready to fly passengers about six months later.


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