When Alan Foreman, an avid general aviation pilot, retired from “the corporate life,” he decided it was time to invest in his own aviation business. “I live here in Northern California, just outside Placerville,” he said. “I was looking for an opportunity, and (Yuba County) was the first one that came along.”
Foreman, who owns Red Carpet Aviation Services, is the fixed-base operator, or FBO, at the airport. He and his small crew essentially run the airport under a 10-year lease with the county. He’s in his second year.
“It’s kind of sleepy right now, but poised for growth,” he said. “In the next three to five years, we’ll see some significant changes.”
Both he and county officials are hoping for big things at the 900-acre airport, which has long been in need of an upgrade. “The buildings are a little old and tired,” he said. “Certainly, the opportunity is there.” The airport is the centerpiece of the county’s major industrial tract. There are 265 acres available for development.
Mary Hansen, the county’s airport manager, said things are definitely picking up, with about 300 manufacturing jobs created this year by new tenants. The Buzz Oates Company is erecting eight speculative-type buildings, each of about 7,900 square feet. But the airport itself remains the lure and what county officials hope will be the major attraction for even more businesses.
Its 6,006-foot primary runway and 3,280-foot crosswind runway can handle jet air carriers, freight carriers and all general aviation business jets, plus private aircraft. Some of the acts at the nearby Sleep Train Amphitheatre fly in for their performances.
Foreman said the airport is the gateway to Yuba County and Marysville for potential investors in the area. “Often their first impression is what they see at the airport,” he said. “We are intent on providing high services of customer care.”
Foreman said he’s pleased by “the new businesses coming into Marysville and Yuba City in general. We’re very pleased by the new residential development going on, both in terms of people who want to learn how to fly or who need transportation to the Bay Area.” Foreman said his goal is to attract two or three corporate jets to the airport.
“That would make a big impact on the airport and on us as Red Carpet Aviation,” he said. Currently, he said, Red Carpet provides all services for planes that come in, but its car rental business “provides good revenue, particularly in the winter months when there’s not too much flying going on.”
Red Carpet is looking for a major upgrade of airport hangars, a project that could run up to $1 million, he said. Red Carpet is partnering with another business, Schmidt Construction, for the project. Final financing details have yet to be worked out.
Both businesses are “very much committed to the Marysville-Yuba County Airport,” Foreman said. “I’m here for the long term.” The county is still working on a master plan for the airport, its first since 1986.
Hansen said the airport is seeking $300,000 in grants to pay for studies for water and sewer improvements. It also anticipates receiving a $2 million federal grant to buy land to protect the airport from encroaching development. The airport also will be improving its security fencing with federal and state grants totaling about $500,000, she said.