Aero Union closing; Chico workers lose jobs

Aero Union closing; Chico workers lose jobs

13 August 2011

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USA — 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.

Chico employees “were told the company is closing its doors and they no longer had jobs. There was some insinuations that they should look for new jobs,” said Alvistur.

To his knowledge, there were about “a couple dozen” Chico employees traveling to Sacramento, and the company had slightly less than 100 employees in total.

After losing the Forest Service contract, there “is no question they can stay open,” said Alvistur.

As well as employing Chico residents, Aero Union continued to lease
six hangars at the Chico Municipal Airport even after relocating to Sacramento. It has been making lease payments to the city.

Aero Union was founded in Redding in 1960, but moved to Chico in 1964. In 2005, it was sold to a group of investors in the Seattle area. In June 2010, it announced the relocation to Sacramento, sending several divisions down there separately over the course of the year.

It still has a slight presence in Chico. At its peak in Chico, it employed about 230 individuals.

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