A $7 million, 36,000-square-foot hangar is nearing completion at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport. Set to be completed Nov. 1, it is the new maintenance facility for Aviation Consultants Inc.
ACI was founded by Bill Borgsmiller in 1998 as a one-man, one-charter-plane outfit. Now it has 54 employees, offers service to every plane that lands at the San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles airports, and has a private charter jet fleet of eight aircraft.
ACI is growing at a time when most jet services are not. Borgsmiller, who serves as president of the company, said that sales have been consistent at around $25 million for the past two years. However, the company is putting on hold plans to build an additional $5 million LEED-certified central facility adjacent to the hangar. ACI has been unable to find a profitable use for its current jet center offices on the airport property because of the economy.
“We’d like to see some return on our investment” before continuing expansion, Borgsmiller said.
The new hangar, which could accommodate 50 small Cessna aircraft, will expand all of ACI’s jet center capabilities, from its fuel and ground support to maintenance and charter business.
As operator of the San Luis Jet Center, ACI services about 40 aircraft a day, and on the weekends more than 60. The generic term “jet center” implies a full range of services for pilots including tugs, oxygen, newspapers and more — much as one would expect a minimart at a gas station to have hot dogs and motor oil, Borgsmiller said.
ACI’s new hangar will allow for the maintenance of much larger aircraft and of multiple planes at the same time.
The company relies mostly on business from private aircraft, which range from Federal Express planes and air ambulances to small planes used for business travel.
Of the 7,000 operations that take place at the San Luis Obispo airport in any month (including takeoffs and landings) — 6,000 involve such general aviation, Borgsmiller said. The rest involve military planes and commercial airlines.