Maguire Aviation, a fixed-base operator at Van Nuys Airport, is primed to get considerably bigger.

The company, owned by Maguire Aviation Group LLC, recently announced it will purchase Skytrails Aviation, a competing operator at the airport. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Fixed-base operators typically provide aircraft storage, fuel, sales, maintenance, catering, flight instruction and related services. Maguire is expected to expand its services.

The move is a significant one for Van Nuys Airport, which is home to more than 100 businesses and is the busiest general aviation airport in the country. It had just six fixed-base operators prior to the deal, including Clay Lacy Aviation and Million Air, in addition to Maguire and Skytrails.

Through the acquisition, Maguire will gain 52,000 square feet of hangar and office space on 27 acres of land.

"The purchase of Skytrails will allow us to integrate our current properties and provide the level of service only an integrated facility can provide to the customers of Van Nuys Airport and greater Los Angeles," said Alec Maguire, president of Maguire Aviation, in a statement.

The company said it plans to invest more than $250 million in the next three years to upgrade and expand facilities.

Regionalization Woes

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other local officials last week celebrated the announcement that low-cost airline JetBlue will begin offering service out of Los Angeles International Airport in May. But the move may ultimately mean one big step back for a decades-old effort to regionalize local air traffic.

"Adding service at LAX probably retards regionalization," said Jack Keady, an aviation consultant based in Playa del Rey. "For every new carrier that L.A. solicits and gets on board, it drives them closer to their maximum of 70 million passengers or so."

LAX handles the vast majority of the region's air traffic and officials have tried unsuccessfully since the 1980s to redistribute passenger service to nearby airports including Bob Hope Airport in Burbank and L.A./Ontario International Airport.

The Southern California Regional Airport Authority, a committee tasked with promoting regionalization, recently disbanded amid waning interest from neighboring counties.

JetBlue Airways Corp., based in Forest Hills, N.Y., announced last week that it will offer three daily nonstop flights between Los Angeles and John F. Kennedy International
Airport in New York, as well as one daily
nonstop flight to Boston's Logan International Airport.

The carrier already flies out of several local airports, including Long Beach Airport and Bob Hope. The airline said it also would increase service out of those locations.


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