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After literally years of waiting and setbacks, California Pacific Airlines is finally set to start offering service between cities in the western U.S. The Carlsbad, California-based airline will offer service to a select number of destinations in the Western U.S.

The location in northern San Diego county is a good pick, in my opinion. San Diego’s current airport is over-taxed, and is the “busiest single runway in the nation” (the global honor goes to London Gatwick). It is convenient for those near downtown SD, but the heavy traffic plus white-knuckle approach pilots have to typically make means that San Diego really needs to look beyond Lindbergh Field. San Diego County boasts a population of over 3 million, making it the fifth most populous in the United States. Yet the SD taxpayers voted against the construction of a new airport away from the city center.

Hopefully California Pacific Airways will be a success and can alleviate some of the travel pressure, at least on regional hops.

California Pacific airways routes and schedule

After years of planned launches and subsequent delays and roadblocks, it actually looks like the California Pacific launch is happening. The flight inventory has been loaded into their website, and you can book flights. I’ve not seen the airline loaded into Google Flights, however (Carlsbad airport isn’t even available). California Pacific’s IATA airline designation is 4A.

a screenshot of a flight schedule

The first California Pacific Airlines flights take off from McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad on November 1, 2018. The schedule for their routes is the following:

  • Carlsbad to San Jose, twice daily
  • Carlsbad to Reno, four times weekly

Additional flights will take off on November 15, including:

  • Carlsbad to Las Vegas, three times weekly
  • Carlsbad to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway (AZA), daily (excluding Sunday)

All routes will be operated by Embraer ERJ-145 regional jets. The cheapest fares are between San Jose and Carlsbad, starting at $99 one-way.

One interesting thing to note is that California Pacific Airlines allows you up to two free checked bags, plus a “gate checked” bag, which I assume can be a normal sized carry-on that will not fit in the overhead bins of the aircraft. You can check out their travel info page for additional details.

California Pacific Airlines also currently operates essential air service (EAS) routes between Denver and two cities in South Dakota: Pierre and Watertown. They picked up that Federal contract earlier this year and will be serving these routes through 2020, assuming their new operations out in California can get off the ground.


I’m really not sure how well a new regional airline is going to do in the current market. I sure hope they make it. With so much consolidation in the industry over the past several years, having a new airline take flight is definitely a breath of fresh air, even if it is just for regional flights.

It would be fun to be on one of the first flights on November 1 or 2, but I don’t think I can swing it. Anyone else interested in taking to the skies with California Pacific Airlines?

Photo courtesy and copyright of California Pacific Airlines, approved for media usage. 

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