EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated to include additional flight information, schedules and quotes from California Pacific Airlines COO Mickey Bowman.
CARLSBAD — On Saturday, California Pacific Airlines makes its debut over the skies of Denver.
Although CP Air will not service Denver from Carlsbad, the airline announced its long-awaited service from McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad begins with commercial flights to San Jose and Reno, Nevada, on Nov. 1. Flights to Las Vegas start Nov. 15, according to CP Air Chief Operating Officer Mickey Bowman.
CP Air announced two weeks ago it was slated for a Nov. 1 launch date.
The company’s Denver service comes with its purchase of Aerodynamics last year, which already had several routes and contracts in operation. But now, CP Air is moving forward with its West Coast operation.
“We are excited to bring this to market,” Bowman said. “With a no-hassle airport, this will bring back the joy of flying.”
CP Air’s schedule includes two round trips on weekdays to San Jose with single-day round-trip flights to Reno on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. As for San Jose, CP Air will also fly once per day on weekends.
Flights to Las Vegas, meanwhile, will be on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Passengers will commute on 50-seat Embraer 145 airplanes.
Bowman said the tech industry directed the airliner to service San Jose and Reno. Reno has become a sort of Silicon Valley suburb with Tesla’s gigafactory (battery production) and other companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Switch and Intuit, to name a few, have set up operations.
As for Las Vegas, it’s a desired leisure destination, Bowman said. Reno also provides some capacity for leisure with its close proximity to Lake Tahoe, but the primary driver was the tech industry.
“We believe there is great demand from the tech sector, in particular, for San Jose,” Bowman added. “It sort of kicks off two very strong areas of demand, we feel, that we’re seeing from North County. There has also been a tremendous amount of growth in Reno. Finally, Vegas is Vegas. There is always demand for service to Vegas and we felt needed to be done sooner rather than later.”
Customers, he added, can begin making reservations for the Nov. 1 and Nov. 15 flights. CP Air’s website for ticketing is live and can book reservations up to 11 months.
As for pricing, CP Air’s fares range between $99 to Las Vegas and San Jose and $148.99 to Reno. The airline offers both refundable and nonrefundable tickets with the nonrefundable tickets being less expensive.
Bowman said the company compared prices from major airliners flying out of San Diego International Airport, especially Southwest, to determine CP Air’s price point. Although some prices may be more expensive, convenience of avoiding a minimum 35-minute drive, parking costs between $10 and $40 and less time in security lines adds value to the cost of CP Air’s tickets. Parking at McClellan-Palomar Airport is just $5 per day.
“We spent a lot of time studying the fare offerings out of San Diego,” Bowman explained. “We feel that the conveniences offered out of Carlsbad, in particular, justify a little bit of a premium. Not a huge amount. There are some fairly cheap one-way offerings out there.”
Also, Bowman said the company will announce later this week or early next week at least one new destination. Company representatives said in May other target destinations include Phoenix and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
“Today’s (Aug. 27) announcement marks the culmination of a multi-year effort that will bring significant convenience in air travel between San Diego’s North County and the top Western-Region destinations our community wants to fly to nonstop,” California Pacific Airlines Chairman Ted Vallas said in a statement. “California Pacific Airlines will bring the north county a new-found convenience in air travel options. Our initial set of cities will address the needs of both business and leisure travelers from nearby McClellan-Palomar Airport. Passengers can spend less time fretting the drive to and from the airport and spend more time enjoying their destination.”