Carlsbad-based California Pacific Airlines has named airline industry veteran John Selvaggio as its president and CEO, taking over daily management duties from founder and Chairman Ted Vallas.

The fledgling carrier said in a statement that it anticipates a mid-summer completion of its Federal Aviation Administration certification to offer commercial flights from McClellan-Palomar Airport. If certification is granted, the long-delayed service could begin by year’s end.

The company has encountered challenges in its FAA certification process over the past several months, prompting it to push back the start of service that was originally planned to begin in 2012.

Selvaggio was founder, president and CEO of Song Airlines, a low-cost subsidiary service operated by Delta Air Lines from 2003 to 2006. He retired due to a Delta bankruptcy filing, and the airline rehired him in 2007 as president and CEO of its Comair subsidiary.

His 45-year airline career also includes earlier executive positions with American Airlines, American Eagle and Midway Airlines.

Industry veteran Vallas, who owned and managed Air Resorts for 17 years, applied in 2010 to the FAA and state Department of Transportation to offer commercial service out of Carlsbad, initially planning to deploy three Embraer 170 twin-engine jets, each able to accommodate 70 passengers.

California Pacific’s plans call for nonstop daily flights to San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.

“I’ve got everything started, so now it’s time for John to take over, get us FAA and DOT certified and into the air,” Vallas said in the statement.

— SDBJ Staff Report