Wednesday, November 19, 2014

United Airlines to cut Los Angeles International Airport (KLAX) service from Palomar

United Airlines plans to eliminate its daily service from Carlsbad’s McClellan-Palomar Airport to LAX by May, leaving the North County airport with no major commercial carrier.

The move comes as Skywest airlines, which operates the roughly seven daily flights as United Express, moves to a new fleet of jets that can’t land on the airport’s short runway, a spokeswoman for Skywest said Wednesday.

Currently, Skywest uses a 30-passenger turboprop plane for the flights, offered since 1998. Melissa Snow, a spokeswoman for Skywest, said the change is coming because of costs, as well as challenges associated with implementing new Federal Aviation Administration rules involving pilot rest time.

Ted Owen, CEO of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, said the cancellation of service had been rumored for a while, but he wouldn’t be surprised if another airline took United’s place.

“It’s a nice outlet for people who travel, I don’t see that this is necessarily going to hurt our tourism very much,” he said. “For the business traveler I think it will be some reorientation.”

Palomar’s runway is 4,897 feet long. For measure, San Diego International Airport’s runway is 9,400 feet long.

Previously, American Eagle offered service from Palomar to Los Angeles, while U.S. Airways Express flew to Phoenix. A commercial airline proposed in 2010 for Palomar called California Pacific planned to fly to San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and eventually Cabo San Lucias, but its applications were routinely returned by the FAA, citing various failings.

Surf Air, a charter all you can fly airline service, began offering flights this week to Santa Barbara and the Bay Area. There are eight additional charter and air taxi services that operate out of Palomar. 

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