The airport here is seeing growth.
Mooney International, a manufacturer of general aviation aircraft, has expanded its operations at the Chino Airport.
The airplane manufacturing firm chose the airport to better serve customer expansion in the United States and into China, executives said. It opened its Chino operation at the airport in 2013, the same year the company became a subsidiary after being acquired by Soaring America Corporation, with its parent company, Meijing Group, based in Cheng Zhou, China.
“A number of factors drove our decision to locate and expand at Chino Airport,” said Jerry Chen, CEO of Mooney International, in a statement. “The airport has room for development and greater expansion opportunities, plus it’s well situated at the heart of the Southern California economy and as a gateway to the Pacific Rim … We’ve also been able to benefit from access to a well-educated, highly-skilled workforce. Some of the best universities in the country surround us.”
The company, which is based in Kerrville, Texas, increased its facility to more than 153,000 square feet. It employs about 80 people at its Chino site and plans to add at least 20 more, according to a statement. By 2016, company leaders hope to have 150 employees.
Shan Ling Yang, program management officer, said the company hopes to expand its business into the Chinese market in a big way. Yang said the Chinese Air Force recently opened up low altitude airspace for private pilots to fly, which has opened up the market for general aviation aircraft in the country.
“China is a huge marketplace for general aviation aircraft now,” Yang said.
She added the private aviation in China will be a big opportunity for Mooney.
“That’s something Mooney hopes to help with creating jobs for people, whether flying themselves, or flying for business,” Yang said. “Part of Mooney’s goal is not just to sell airplanes in China but to sell a business along with an airplane. We do hope to see more private pilots fly for business purposes, by becoming a business instructor or flying for a company.”
James E. Jenkins, director of airports for San Bernardino County, said the expansion will mean an additional revenue stream of about $440,000 a year as a result of Mooney’s leasing of the hangar and office property. The Chino Airport is owned by the County.
“It’s similar to having a large anchor tenant at a shopping center,” Jenkins said. “So when you build a shopping center, once you get Kohls or Walmart, everyone else follows suit. So we’re likely going to see other interest at the airport related to using our facilities as a research and development hub.”