Airports: Entrepreneur wants to launch airline from Carlsbad

A longtime North San Diego County businessman said he’ll start a regional airline offering a total of six daily flights to Oakland, Phoenix and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, provided that authorities allow a 1,000-foot extension to the runway at McClellan-Palomar Airport.

The entrepreneur, Ted Vallas, said he plans to launch Carlsbad Palomar Airline with three to six mid-range, mid-size jets, potentially models made by Bombardier, of Canada; Fokker, of the Netherlands; and Embraer, of Brazil.

Initial flights would include three daily flights to Oakland, with 70 seats each. Two daily flights with 50 to 70 seats would go to Phoenix and then on to Tucson, Ariz. A sixth daily flight would go south to Cabo San Lucas, a resort area at the southern tip of Baja California.

Vallas said a proposed runway extension and the recent renovation of the airport’s terminal would allow his airline to compete with some flights at San Diego International Airport, 30 miles to the south. An extension appears to be years away, officials have said.

“The airport here has changed completely,” Vallas said of McClellan-Palomar, about three miles from the Pacific Ocean. “This is an opportune time.”

The proposals would nearly double commercial air traffic at McClellan-Palomar. United Express now offers seven flights on most days to Los Angeles International Airport, and seven returns. Several outfits offer charter flights.

Vallas said he has been associated with the airport for 47 of its 50 years of existence. He developed the Olympic Resort & Spa, across Palomar Airport Road on airport property. The airport is owned and operated by an arm of the San Diego County government.

Vallas said he once owned Olympic, El Camino Country Club and the Rancho Santa Fe resort now known as Morgan Run. He recently sold the last of his resorts.

by Chris Bagley

Reach him at 760-740-5444. Read his blogs at


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