Why Aero Union is leaving

One big reason: the high cost of energy

The news last week that Aero Union would be shifting its aircraft refurbishing and maintenance business from Chico to Sacramento—and with it some 100 well-paying jobs—was a blow to the city, and especially its airport. The company, which transforms former military planes into firefighting tankers and also leases its own firefighting planes to the U.S. government, is the largest aircraft-services employer at the airport and the cornerstone of its still fledgling aviation community.

From what Aero Union officials have said, the move makes sense from their standpoint. The pool of trained workers is larger and deeper in Sacramento, and the move will put the company closer to its key suppliers and customers, especially the U.S. Forest Service.

It was also interesting to learn that the company cited lower utility costs from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District as one of the reasons for the move. That news came just days before voters turned thumbs down on Proposition 16, the ballot initiative bought and paid for by PG&E that would have effectively locked in that company’s monopoly in the areas it serves.

Message to Assemblyman Logue: If you really want to help California businesses, forget about killing AB 32, stop dissing regulators, and work on lowering energy costs instead.