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VALLEY AND VENTURA COUNTY | VENTURA COUNTY REVIEW

Sun Air to Build an Executive Terminal at Camarillo Airport

October 20, 1998|LEO SMITH | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Long-distance teleconferencing and telecommuting have become a common way of doing business, but corporate executives still depend on air travel to facilitate many of their negotiations and transactions.

This has not gone unnoticed by Sun Air Aviation. Officials at the airplane and helicopter charter company, which is based at Camarillo Airport, have seen corporate flights come and go on a regular basis.

But what these officials haven't seen in Camarillo or elsewhere in Ventura County is an aircraft terminal set aside specifically to cater to corporate clients. Unlike other airports in Southern California, the Oxnard and Camarillo airports mix commercial and private air travelers, moving everyone through the same terminal space.

Sun Air is prepared to address that situation.

The company has received approval from the Ventura County Board of Supervisors to build a 20,000-square-foot executive terminal on 4 acres of undeveloped land at the Camarillo Airport. Construction on the facility--which will include a hangar, office building and a parking lot--is set to begin in the second quarter of 1999 with completion by mid-2000.

"There has been an increase in the amount of corporate airplane traffic into and out of Ventura County, especially since the economy started to turn around, but there's no accommodations for corporate executives who fly in on their own jets," said Alex Fisher, marketing director for Sun Air.

"Currently they fly into Oxnard and Camarillo, but there is not a commercial, privately owned or operated service to cater to the needs of those travelers," he said. "If you take a trip to Burbank or Van Nuys airports, you will find companies that offer a terminal facility."

The Sun Air facility, which Fisher said will cost more than $2 million, will include a 200-by-100-foot hangar--enough space to house two large corporate jets--and an adjacent two-story tower with office space and accommodations for pilots, crew members and passengers.

"We'll have sleeping accommodations, as well as flight-planning rooms and briefing rooms," Fisher said. "[Travelers] will be able to make rental car arrangements and make arrangements for limousine pickups and deliveries."

The need for a corporate terminal in Ventura County, Fisher said, stems from an improvement in economic conditions as a whole and in the aviation industry in particular.

"There had been a decline in general aviation up until, probably, 1994, during the recession, and the need for [an executive terminal] didn't really exist," he said. "Since then, the economy has turned around and people have been looking at this as an attractive venture."

Sun Air officials expect to lease space for the housing of aircraft in the hangar and on outside ramps, Fisher said. The company also will lease office space in the terminal tower to firms in the aviation field.

"We'll be looking to secure hangar tenants prior to completion of the facility," he said. "There's a demand, unquestionably, for a facility out here to accommodate corporate aircraft. The waiting list is years and years long for a hangar. There's a tremendous shortage at the Camarillo Airport."

Sun Air currently provides airplane and helicopter business and pleasure charter flights, as well as aerial adventure trips above the Channel Islands, Catalina Island, Hollywood landmarks and other regional sites.

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