By Bradley J. Fikes
“Dazzling.” “Unexpectedly beautiful.” “Impressive.” These were some of the comments from local officials and aviation community members at the grand opening on May 10 of Sun Air Aviation’s new Executive Flight Center.
Occupying 35,000 square feet of hangar space and 25,000 square feet of terminal and office space, the center makes Sun Air the largest fixed base operation at Camarillo.
Sun Air owner Edward Atsinger greeted several hundred well-wishers, including Camarillo Mayor Jan McDonald and Vice Mayor Charlotte Craven, County Supervisors Kathy Long and Judy Mikels, and the Exxon tiger (the latter in honor of the aviation fuel that Sun Air uses to operate), in a Friday evening ceremony.
Long congratulated Sun Air and thanked them for investing in Camarillo Airport and the community with a “world-class, topnotch” facility.
Atsinger noted that airports and the communities that house them often have a “love-hate relationship.”
“The noise is always an issue, so lots of people never see any benefits from an airport,” Atsinger said. However, he noted that Camarillo Airport also helps its community, even those who never see the inside of an airplane, by hosting police and fire department helicopters. Additionally, inspectors fly from the airport to offshore oil platforms, to monitor them, ensuring they’re not likely to cause an oil spill.
Headquartered at the Camarillo Airport, and with offices in Aettenschwil/Sins, Switzerland, Sun Air Aviation provides comprehensive helicopter and airplane services including operational and administrative flight support management; aircraft maintenance, modification, and refurbishing; aircraft refueling, storage and ground support; and on-demand charter flight operations.
Sun Air Jets LLC, specializing in jet charter and aircraft maintenance, was launched earlier this year.
Sun Air Aviation was established as an international flight school in Camarillo in 1992. While its reputation as a premier flight academy flourished, Sun Air continued to broaden its range of helicopter and airplane services.
Located 55 miles east of Los Angeles, the Camarillo Airport provides an easier entry into Southern California than the “rigors” of other Los Angeles area airports, said Alex Fisher, vice president of operations.
That’s especially true for people who live in the Malibu area midway between Camarillo and Los Angeles, Fisher said, as well as the West Valley area and cities such as Thousands Oaks, Agoura and Calabasas.
“Prior to our facility being built, there really wasn’t a place that could accommodate large aircraft very well. The owner of our company happened to be one of those aircraft owners who lived in Camarillo and whose business was based in Camarillo, yet he found he had to base his aircraft in Van Nuys, because of the lack of accommodations that existed in Ventura County at the time,” Fisher said.
Sun Air also offers helicopter shuttle flights into Los Angeles.
“Camarillo Airport is just a short 15-minute flight directly to the heliport at LAX on top of the parking garages,” Fisher said. “It’s very convenient to all of the airlines. And we also know how much people dislike that drive to LAX, especially from this far out.”
Fisher said Sun Air is expected to grow as the region grows.
“We have plans to develop two additional hangars adjacent to this one,” Fisher said.
For more information, please visit their websites at www.sunairjets.com or www.sun-air.com.