Airline files suit against county

REGION — The company behind California Pacific Air (CP Air) is suing San Diego County for $250 million, claiming that the county failed to disclose information that ultimately would prevent the airline from operating out of Palomar-McClellan Airport as planned.

Since 2010, Carlsbad-Palomar Airline, Inc. (CPA) has worked to establish the first commercial airline to fly nonstop to six destinations from Carlsbad’s Palomar-McClellan Airport.

CPA’s claim makes seven separate allegations against the county, including a breach of contract, intentional misrepresentation, false promise, and concealment. Attorneys for CPA filed the claim on Sept. 19.

According to the claim, CPA and the county entered into a contract in December 2011 that ensured CPA’s eventual use of Palomar-McClellan Airport once the company gained approval from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to operate CP Air.

But county officials failed to disclose facts that would prohibit the airline from operating out of Palomar-McClellan Airport, which is a county-owned facility, the claim stated.

CPA founder Ted Vallas stated that CP Air would be much closer to taking flight had it not been for the county’s omissions.

The facts not disclosed included that the county had not completed environmental changes to the airport to allow a commercial airline to operate from the site, the claim stated. The filing also claims that the county did not reveal to CPA that Carlsbad city laws did not allow the 70-seat style of aircraft CP Air intends to use to fly in and out of the airport.

CPA attorneys assert that the airline has been damaged in the sum of an estimated $100 million and lost $150 million in broker-dealer transactions, which would have kept the company operational while awaiting FAA certification.

The county has yet to respond to the claim and declined to comment on this story.

CP Air is awaiting review of its air carrier certification application by the FAA. But Vallas stated earlier this month that he intends to merge with and take over an existing airline as a means to establish CP Air.

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