CARLSBAD —When it came to his dream of bringing a full-service airport to North County, the sky was the limit for Ted Vallas. And the CEO of California Pacific Airlines visions’ continue to soar following the initial launch out of Palomar-McClellan Airport. After its inaugural flights to San Jose and Reno on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, respectively, and Phoenix-Mesa and Las Vegas on Nov. 15, CP Air is set to expand to Sacramento and Denver next spring.
And if the reception they’ve received so far is any indication, passengers can expect a red-carpet level welcome both upon boarding their plane and when they arrive at their destination. “It was absolutely super,” TG Vallas, California Pacific Air secretary of the board, said. “At both San Jose and Reno the reception couldn’t have been better. We had a wonderful flight up the coast to San Jose over theChannel Islands and Catalina Islands.” The beautiful sights didn’t end in the air, either. “In San Jose, we were met at the aircraft and escorted into the terminal. They had balloons and gift bags for us. I was interviewed by the local NBC channel there and two radio stations. We met several people from the chamber and economic development departments as well as the airport CEO and management. It was a marvelous reception.
The next day’s flight into Reno-Tahoe International Airport was no less exceptional. “We were greeted by about 150 people,” CEO Ted Vallas said. “There were three TV stations, two radio stations and local newspapers. They had a big cake for us. You couldn’t be treated any better.” And he was pleased to learn that the folks in Reno had given the new route a nickname “The California Pacific Air Express to Legoland.”
“They had about 15 kids there working with Legos and all of the sudden they gave me an aircraft built out of Legos with our logo and names on it,” Ted Vallas said.“The team in Reno has been heavily promoting us and has let us know that a strategic partnership with us is very important to them. The reception in Phoenix was equally impressive with a spectacular sunset, a water arch and a cake reception with local dignitaries”
TG Vallas said that the California Pacific Air team couldn’t be more pleased with how smoothly the busy Thanksgiving travel week was. “Our crews both on the ground and in the air did an amazing job,” he said. “We were very pleased with the ridership during that time period. And we are looking forward to increasing our flight times and continuing to add new routes.
While the Carlsbad airport’s size and location allow for conveniences and time and money savings for travelers, Ted Vallas wants to make sure people know that it is indeed an international airport. “Flights to Cabo San Lucas are in our near future,” he said. “It’s going to be a big market for us. And we clear customs right here.”
For now, California Pacific Air is readying for its launches to Sacramento and Denver. “We are securing aircraft and crews and setting up and hiring more maintenance people,”he said. “We are also adding additional flights to Las Vegas.”
Ted Vallas said they will begin pre selling tickets for the new routes this week. He added that while CP Air’s prices are comparable to those at San Diego International Airport’s, there are some savings you can’t put a price tag on. “For every hour you spend here at the Carlsbad airport, it would take five hours at the San Diego airport,” he said. “While we aren’t a ‘low-cost’ airline in terms of our ticket prices, we offer you a much shorter drive time, shorter lines, faster boarding and parking is just $5 a day.” For more information about California PacificAirlines and to see a full flight schedule and book flights, visit www.mycpair.com.