FAA: Can’t Process New CA Airline Application Due to Sequester – Really?

Allen L. Phillips
Retired corporate executive and small business owner

The Obama Administration is running a campaign to convince us gullible citizens that a 2% sequester cut will curtail critical services and therefore taxes must be increased.  In the latest stunt, California Pacific Airlines has been notified by the FAA that, due to the “sequester”, they had no staff to continue processing their application to begin commercial service at Palomar Airport in Carlsbad, California.

Jonathan Horn, in a May 8th  U-T San Diego article, www.utsandiego.com, says that the new airline has been trying for 3 years to get certification to begin service.  “The new holdup comes less than a month after the proposed airline and the FAA worked out what the federal agency had called major issues with its initial application to operate.”

A May 2nd letter from Keith Ballenger, an assistant manager for the flight standards division, to owner Ted Vallas states: “At this time we regret to inform you that we are temporarily suspending the certification of California Pacific Airlines.  While the furlough of Federal Aviation Administration employees has been suspended, the FAA is still under sequestration.  This has directly impacted our ability to build our certification team.”

“Build our certification team”?  They don’t already have a certification team?  The letter goes on to say that the FAA would re-evaluate whether it has the resources to work on the application every 45 days.

John Selvaggio, hired in March as the airline’s CEO, said they are continuing to meet with the FAA to try to speed things up.  The airline’s first plane, a 72 seat regional jet, was leased in July, 2012 and sat at the airport for months at a cost of $200,000 per month.  The company recently subleased the plane to Honeywell in Phoenix to stop some of the bleeding.

California Pacific Airlines would, I believe, be the first regional airline to to serve North San Diego County from Palomar Airport and plans to fly to San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Phoenix and, eventually, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  As such, it would provide a much needed alternative to the larger and more congested San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles airports.

It may be a local issue but it is symptomatic of a larger national problem.  There is no organization in the world that can’t absorb a 2% budget cut without reducing critical mission services.  What did 92 year old Ted Vallas do to offend our increasingly tyrannical regime?  Did he donate to the wrong party?  I sincerely hope that everyone who reads this will contact their representatives in Washington and raise hell.

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