More than 30 aviation and aerospace companies from the greater San Fernando Valley were in attendance this week at the National Business Aviation Association convention in Orlando, Fla.

The three-day show, which ends Nov. 1, drew companies from across North America and Europe to display their products and services for the business aviation industry.

“This group of people is, to me, valuable even as we scramble to make ends meet,” said Neil Looy, president of Corporate Air Parts Inc., a Van Nuys provider of cabin safety equipment and crew safety training.

The NBAA said there were just over 1,000 exhibitors and 24,000 registered attendees. Some vendors, however, thought the attendance was lower following cancellation of flights due to Hurricane Sandy.

“A lot of people we were able to see but we missed some people from the northeast (U.S.),” said Steve Lassetter, president and chief operating officer of Sun Air Jets, a charter and aircraft management firm based in Camarillo.




Sun Air announced at the NBAA last year that it was taking hangar space at Van Nuys Airport, the company’s first move outside its traditional Ventura County base. Sun Air leases 42,000 square feet for the storage of aircraft.

A year later, opening a second location in Van Nuys has begun to pay off. One managed aircraft is kept at the hangar full-time and a second is expected by the end of the year. “It’s great exposure to pilots and aircraft owners who never realized a Camarillo company would be able to handle them in Van Nuys,” Lassetter said.

Van Nuys Airport had a booth at the convention staffed by General Manager Jess Romo and Diana Sanchez, director of public and community relations. It was a first for the Valley airfield to have a booth at the convention.

Romo and Sanchez were informing attendees about the repair project on the airport’s main runway that will begin this month and be completed in the summer. The project will require the shortening of the main runway from 8,000 feet to 5,200 feet when work is done on the north and south ends, and a 10-day closure when the middle section is replaced.

A second, 4,000-foot runway primarily used by propeller aircraft will not be affected and will be able to accommodate small jets, Romo added.

Castle & Cooke Aviation Services Inc. also was promoting a Van Nuys Airport project. The fixed-base operator is constructing a 37,600-square foot hangar with adjoining office space to replace two older buildings that had been demolished, said Tony Marlow, general manager.