Friday, July 6, 2012

California Pacific Airlines - Who?

There’s a new airline in town, well in Carlsbad (San Diego north), California.  California Pacific Airlines (CPA) is a startup looking to make Carlsbad the low cost airport for San Diego.  They plan to have service to Vegas, Phoenix, Cabo, San Jose, Oakland, and Sacramento.  The airline will operate E170 jets in an all coach configuration.  I’ll put the over under on their survival at 14 months, if they ever get off the ground.
Great Lakes Puddle Jumper, Close Enough
The SoCal air market is already very crowded and filled with low fares and high frequencies.  CPA seems unlikely to generate much connecting traffic or traffic originating at their spokes.  They do have an interesting marketing position focused on Carlsbad’s low costs to customers and convenient location to people north of San Diego; SAN is amazingly convenient for locals.  I don’t think there will be enough traffic though to sustain their operation.  The big airlines all work out of SAN (40 mins south), Long Beach (75 mins north) and LAX (90 mins north) with more destinations and frequencies and unless you live right in Carlsbad, it will most likely be worth the drive to catch a flight.  I haven’t written an obituary yet, but I’m tempted to start soon.

UPDATE 12/14/14:
I have a feeling the airline is done before it ever took off.  The domain name expired and is now up for auction, current price $65.


  1. Wow, you got most of the facts wrong about this airline, and seem to know little about Southern California. Keep studying.

    1. In response to you assertion, I obtained my information from their website. It is copyright 2011, so the facts may be dated, but this is what they are communicating to customers. The site also seems very amateurish; the founder page has a rambling story about a loud jet training program in the 80's, but there is nothing about booking flights, proposed schedules, or when service starts. This poor example of marketing communications supported my negative outlook on CPA's operation.

  2. Since we aren't certificated as an airline by the FAA yet, CP Air isn't allowed to market proposed schedules or any information about booking. The scheduling of our first revenue flight is dependent upon regulatory approval so when we get closer to certification, we will announce the date of our first flights. Our focus is primarily on the certification process for the moment, but when we are able to sell tickets, we will certainly address all of the marketing concerns you have raised.

    The 1.3 million people who live Northern San Diego have to drive up to an hour and half to two hours each way on I-5 and I-15 to get to Lindbergh. CP Air will offer more convenience with some of the extras passenger prefer such as seat assignments, upgrades for business passengers, and no middle seat, that aren't currently offered in our proposed markets (subject to regulatory approval.)

    It certainly is a challenge to start an airline, but we think we have the right combination to succeed.

    Randy Brown
    Director - Market Planning
    California Pacific Airlines

    P.S. Have always loved your blog on getting solid travel deals.

    1. I am looking forward to it as I have 4 generations of family in Southern California also near the Palomar Airport and would love to avoid San Diego Airport and I never use L.A. I think you will have an enormous following from residents who now pack the I-15 TOLL ROADs and the I-5. Next will be parking! I think it will be a HIT. I wanted to book TODAY!

      Thank You,
      Lori Munn

  3. Your reply should be added to the website home page, very informative.

    Best of luck to you Randy. Thanks for reading.

  4. The website we are creating for booking is going to look nothing like the current site and will be more graphically rich. It will be centered around attracting bookings. The current one is more for general information on what our proposed airline will be about. After working for a couple of majors, it is fun to start everything from scratch, keeping what we loved and disposing of policies we found led to poor customer service. The fun irony, a mileage junky gets to create the new frequent flyer program. I'll have to throw in a few easter eggs every once and a while. - RB