Cal Jet halts Carlsbad operations, plans expansion

How often does a company completely shut down to grow? Cal Jet, the sole commercial operator at Carlsbad Airport north of San Diego halted operations this week with virtually zero notice. In a letter to customers the company says the move is necessary for securing its growth.

Our business plan has been based on a five-city strategy out of Palomar Airport and the additional aircraft and crews needed to accomplish this goal are nearly complete and is operationally where we need to be to operate at our desired performance levels.

To prepare for multiple aircraft operation with crews dedicated to Cal Jet, the Carlsbad to Las Vegas service will be suspended as of April 18, 2018, as the new schedule and times are finalized. Once we have added the additional aircraft and crew, we will restart Las Vegas and add Oakland, and Phoenix by the end of June, followed by San Jose, Cabo and Sacramento in late July. The expanded schedule and times will be finalized soon and will be available for sale at that time.

To say that this approach is highly suspicious is a massive understatement. It is also not the first time the company cancelled flights on short notice because of aircraft availability. Some flights were unexpectedly dropped earlier in the year, with blame focused on charter operations for Elite Airways, the aircraft owner. During the March Madness season its fleet is heavily used for college basketball team charters.

Elite Airways does have additional CRJ700s available that could be dedicated to the Cal Jet operation. It seems unlikely, however, that this is really what is happening. It is also possible that additional crew could be based at Carlsbad to serve additional routes less than daily with the single aircraft. Making either adjustment does not require halting operations. Indeed, this reminds me of a restaurant that will close temporarily for remodeling, never to be heard from again.

Maybe Cal Jet will surprise us all and return to operations. But if it does it will have a hard time convincing travelers that it is a reliable operation. The Vegas flights were not particularly reliable and the stop-and-go operations certainly do not endear passengers to the company. How many are willing to risk a vacation or business meeting with an airline that just might decide to close up shop tomorrow, having demonstrated previously a willingness to do just that?

A full copy of the letter to customers as shared on the company Facebook page is below.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Makes sense to me because their one airplane that was based in CRQ only flying 4 legs a day is not enough for a commercial airliner. Until they get all necessary approvals for more destinations and a plan in place the airplane sitting on the ground and only flying LAS does not make sense. To me it seems like the Vegas route doesnt make sense in less they have all the destinations that was supposed to be in the business plan. I am sure they are coming back….

    1. I agree that the planes make no money sitting on the ground and that higher utilization generally means better profits. What I don’t believe is that it is necessary to halt operations while figuring the other bits out, unless the one is performing so poorly that it is never going to survive anyways. That makes very little sense IMO.

  2. Look up the previous ventures of the president and VP of this company.

    A quick Google search shows that the Cal Jet / Elite president, George Wozniak, is making payments to settle a suit where he and his son sold fake travel packages on Travelzoo.

    The son, Timothy “Timmy” Wozniak is a Cal Jet / Elite VP. In December (yep, only a few months ago), he pled guilty to felony charges of identity theft and fraud — for stealing customers’ identities at his previous venture, called Fresh Jets.

    Looks like some con artists came to Carlsbad. We’re hoping they leave soon, preferably without their customers’ credit card numbers!

  3. Did they ever really intend to succeed? News reports indicate the president has been involved in other schemes that sold nonexistent travel packages then walked away. They had the same jet scheme in Cabo that lasted about 2 months and son Timothy had a similar airline scheme called Fresh jets in Colorado that went bust. It sure looks like just another travel ponzi scheme but this time they may have run afoul of the feds. Their scheme this time involved a significant beefing up of the TSA at Palomar Airport to accommodate the larger number of passenger seats that may represent defrauding the federal government. Where is the DOJ and FBI?

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