Four hundred flights per day?
McClellan Palomar Airport in Carlsbad is getting ready to relaunch commercial flights to Los Angeles. The airport has had trouble finding an airline that could offer commercial service, since United pulled its SkyWest commuter flights to Los Angeles in 2015.
An average of nearly 400 flights either land or take off from Palomar Airport every day, but they are almost all corporate or privately chartered jets.
San Diego County has invested millions in the terminal and other improvements. But the runway, which is less than 5,000 feet long, limits the aircraft that can land. A 20-year master plan could eventually extend the runway. Last year the County Board of Supervisors approved a “Preferred Alternative” which is currently being studied, and may come up for a vote next year.
Palomar Airport Manager Olivier Brackett said Great Lakes Airlines could start commercial flights to LA again as soon as June.
“Great Lakes operate aircraft that can fly in and out of the airport today,“ he said. “They don’t need a runway extension — and they’re getting the connecting agreements with the connecting airlines, which is key when you’re flying to LA.”
The president of Great Lakes Airlines, Chuck Howell, confirmed that his airline is completing negotiations with United Airlines over schedules and fares, and plans to start flying to LA sometime in June.
Howell said Great Lakes will have baggage agreements with other major airlines, so passengers flying on from LA can check in their luggage in Carlsbad and retrieve it at their destination.
Brackett said the new service may start with planes as small as a nine-seater turboprop, but Howell said he hopes to start operations right away with a larger 30-seater turboprop, equivalent in size to the aircraft previously used by SkyWest.
Residents living near Palomar Airport frequently register noise complaints. Brackett said the new commercial service will be less noisy than the corporate jets and will add just six extra landings and takeoffs every day.
“But the benefit is huge because it opens up the airport to the entire community,” Brackett said, “not just those that wish to charter a flight — so anybody could fly in or fly out to anywhere you want to go.”
Brackett said the initial service will be to connecting flights in LA, but Palomar airport hopes to offer flights from Carlsbad to wider destinations later this year.
whatever happened to that new charter jet service that was supposed to fly out of Carlsbad? I can’t remember the name right now, but it was profiled in the UT last year.
I was going to book a flight from them out of Carlsbad to San Jose, but they quickly dropped Carlsbad from their routes right after those news articles were written.
AH!! JetSuite…..that is their name.
We loved using Carlsbad – a couple times it was even cheaper to fly out of there and connect than it was to drive to LA and fly the same flight. The 15 minute drive to the airport, zero line for security and almost-free long term parking wasn’t bad either. I remain perplexed why some airline hasn’t capitalized on San Jose – Carlsbad. Tech express.
By the way, can we kill the $10 billion high speed rail project and divert our share of the funds for a few extra feet of runway? Just say’n that a train from SF-LA doesn’t do us much good…
I am fake news, and I apologize. The super-neato fast train current estimate is a tad more than the 10 billion I said:
“California voters approved the project — originally said to cost $40 billion — in 2008. The latest official estimate for the bullet train is about $64 billion.”
That is only about $1600 dollars per person – every man woman and child in the state – as of now. Not to rant off topic or anything, but if we want to build the train, everyone in the state should be forced to write their check right now. No exceptions.
I am sure 400 is right – remember there are a lot of touch+go landings and a ton of helicopter activity (the Marines practice there frequently – loud but the kids love watching). I am glad commercial service is coming back (off the hook on the upgrade bonds). But it’s a grinding way to make money – I am not sure much other than LAX makes a huge amount of sense.
As for expanding the runway, give me a break – ask Ontario what it feels like to pour cash into a “underserved market.” Just because you have it doesn’t mean it makes sense (or dollars). The lowest fair always wins, no matter the convenience. Carlsbad will be no different, except we’ll have 737s taking off every 5 minutes over Legoland. But at least we won’t have any marijuana growing in the city!