California Pacific certification rejected again by FAA

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Start-up California Pacific Airlines has received yet another setback in its quest to begin service, with a rejection of its latest air carrier certification by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Citing a lack "minimum standards of sufficient quality for acceptance", the regulator outlined three areas - the compliance statement, safety attribute inspection (SAI) and repeated quality failures - that the Carlsbad, California-based airline needs to address and revise in order to resume the certification process, in a letter to the carrier on 7 August.

The FAA said that it is willing to discuss the issues prior to California Pacific's revision of its air carrier certification and gave the airline until 13 September to submit the revisions.

"We've taken action to address all of the areas concerned and we're very confident in our submission," says John Selvaggio, chief executive of the carrier.

California Pacific management has scheduled a meeting with the FAA later in August and has already completed 90% of the requested revisions, he adds. It will meet the 13 September deadline, he says.

"We'll be able to resolve all these issues," says Selvaggio. "This is a normal process, it takes five to six years to certificate an airline."

The FAA's Los Angeles field standards office is reviewing California Pacific's certification package, after the San Diego office rejected it in 2012.

When California Pacific will begin service is unclear. Selvaggio says that the timetable for certification is out of the airline's control and admits that start-up - currently set for the fourth quarter - could slip to early 2014.

The carrier plans to fly 70-seat Embraer 170s on routes from McClellan-Palomar airport to destinations in the western USA and to Mexico.