Start-up carrier California Pacific Airlines (CPAir) has named former Comair head John Selvaggio as its president and chief executive.

The Carlsbad, California-based airline is still undergoing the US Federal Aviation Administration certification process and plans to be based at Palomar Airport. The carrier expects to complete the certification by mid-summer.

Selvaggio will take over the airline from its founder and chairman Ted Vallas, says the airline.

Selvaggio was most recently president and chief executive of former Delta Air Lines subsidiary Comair, before he retired in 2008. Comair was eventually shut down by Delta in September 2012.

His appointment to head CPAir would be Selvaggio's third return in recent years to the airline industry. Selvaggio had resigned from Delta's now-defunct low-cost unit Song Airlines, where he was president and chief executive. He then returned to Delta in 2007 to head Comair.

Selvaggio had also previously worked with American Airlines and US Airways.

"I'm too young to be retired. That's why I accepted Ted's challenge of getting CPAir certified and off the ground," Selvaggio says. "With my extensive experience at American and American Eagle, I think I can fill the need that calls for a veteran hand to guide this exciting new venture and help Ted raise capital for growth."

CPAir will operate Embraer 170 aircraft, the first of which was delivered last summer. It will fly non-stop daily to San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news