UPDATE JUNE 2010:
'Aero Union executives confirmed Monday that its operations are leaving Chico to settle in Sacramento starting in the fall and ending by summer 2011.
A press release issued Monday morning indicated the company is moving in stages to McClellan Air Park in Sacramento, the former McClellan Air Force Base.
Employees were told Friday by the company, which has been in Chico since 1964.
In a press release, the company said it is moving to Sacramento "to be closer to our key customers and suppliers, to streamline our operations from nine buildings to two, and to have access to broader labor markets."
The company transforms former military aircraft into aerial firefighting tankers domestically and internationally, as well as leases firefighting aircraft to the federal government.
The move to Sacramento puts Aero Union closer to its biggest customer, the U.S. Forest Service, Aero Union chief executive officer Britt Gourley said Monday.
The press release indicated the growth of the "aerial fluid tank manufacturing business" is driving the change.
It also noted that "nearly all" of its current employees from this area will be invited to go to Sacramento over the next 12 months. There are about 100 employees here now, and about 20, including pilots and others, live outside the area.
"Everyone who's here will be working for us in the foreseeable future," said Gourley, adding no major layoffs are planned. Employees have until Friday to tell the company if they're interested in relocating.
Gourley said, "We need a bigger plant, deeper labor pools and additional experienced people," said Gourley in a media conference call Monday afternoon. Gourley said Aero Union has had difficulty finding expertise from the local area as well as recruiting from outside the area to Chico.
Aero Union plans to maintain a "secondary satellite facility" at 77 Piper Ave. at the Chico Municipal Airport. Gourley said Aero Union will continue to lease that large hangar from the city for the flexibility it offers for occasional projects, but it won't be staffed unless a project is occurring.
Gourley said the city has been very accommodating, but moving to Sacramento offered opportunities not available here.
Aero Union chose McClellan over other California and out-of-state locations because its reputation as an aerial firefighting base, and Sacramento County's and California's continuing commitment to aerospace manufacturing and aerial firefighting, a press release indicated.'
By: Laura Urseny
Aero-Union was shut down for the second time this year, by the Federal Gov't.
Tanker T22 was out on a contract (Abilene,TX) and was making her way back home base, to McClellan Field (Sacramento).
All other P-3s were supposed tol be returning to Sacramento as well (their locations 29Jul: T22 @Abilene,TX, T17 @Alamogordo,NM, T23 @Cedar City,UT T25 @Ogden/Hill AFB,UT, T21 @Rapid City,SD, T00 @San Bernardino,CA.
Shutdown was repeated because Aero Union was not compliant with USFS regulations.
(Source: Airtanker forum on Yahoo)
The USFS in a statement: "Because of the extraordinary stresses placed on aircraft during aerial firefighting and to prevent catastrophic failures and ensure safety, the Forest Service adds requirements to its airtanker contracts that are specific to the agency’s firefighting mission. The Forest Service will not use aircraft that do not meet its requirements." (Pdf doc)
"Aero Union closing; Chico workers lose jobs
Chico employees of Aero Union who were commuting to Sacramento were told Friday their jobs are gone and the air tanker business is being closed.
They were told they could pick up their final checks on Monday, according to an employee's wife, who contacted the Enterprise-Record.
Employees were told that the entire company was closing, according to the email.
Aero Union, which relocated from Chico to McClellan Field in Sacramento, converted military aircraft to aerial firefighters, and operated some of the planes under contract with the federal government.
The Enterprise-Record was unable to contact anyone from Aero Union's management Friday.
However, former Aero Union CEO Vic Alvistur of Chico, who retired from the company several years ago, confirmed the information.
He said he had received calls from a number of the Chico employees Friday about the news.
In July, the U.S. Forest Service canceled its contract with Aero Union, citing unsafe aircraft."
By LAURA URSENY - Staff Writer
Posted: 08/13/2011 12:13:46 AM PDT
Update march 2014:
I have it on good authority that
United Aeronautical Corporation, which has a salvage yard near the Pima museum in Arizona, are the ones who bought all eight Aero Union P-3s last September. And N922AU (Tanker 22) was handed over to Buffalo Airways (of Yellowknife,NWT) this month - it is rumored it will continue its airtanker career there.
Tanker 22 was reported at McClellan,CA on 10Mar2014. These tanker were spotted: #17, #21, #22, #23, #25 and #27. Maybe #00 was there too.
Alas, parts of #20 were reported in one of the yards at Davis Monthan,AZ.