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Sacramento Executive Airport (SAC), Sacramento, CA

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Sacramento Executive a Welcome Destination for Both Neighbors and Pilots

Updated June 19, 2006

Airport infrastructure improvements don’t have to be momentous to have impressive results, particularly for the surrounding community.  At Sacramento Executive Airport (SAC), a rehabilitation project several years ago recast what had been an “unattractive” rock and asphalt five-acre lot in front of the landmark terminal building into a Better Homes and Gardens vista. “In order to show our commitment to our tenants and the community, we spent nearly $2 million on a complete redesign and landscaping project,” said John Downey, airport manager.

Today the more than 150 trees, 4,000 plants, lighted pedestrian pathways, fountains and artwork are a draw for visitors coming to watch airplanes or dine at Aviators Restaurant, which itself was upgraded with a new deck. Looking out for the community is a given for a 540-acre airport surrounded by neighborhoods on three sides. The fourth side is a city-owned golf course. For noise control, the airport has noise abatement procedures for pilots and web- and phone-based feedback options for the community, though complaints are infrequent. “Neighbors recognize us as contributing to the economic health of the Sacramento area,” said Downey.

Sacramento Executive, one of four airports operated by the Sacramento County Airport System, is home to 365 general aviation aircraft and 30 businesses, including an FBO, four flight training operations and an avionics shop, in all employing 350 workers. The airport generates about $1 million a year in revenue, but operates at a slight annual deficit. Downey said operations average 360 a day, though the number sometimes spikes to 700 a day in the summer. SACjet, the airport’s FBO, last year pumped more than 1 million gallons of fuel, 63 percent of which was Jet A. Downey said approximately 15 percent of the daily operations are by business jets.

Recent airside upgrades, while not as noticeable from the exterior, have made the airport a more welcome destination for pilots. The airport resurfaced a runway and added edge lights to several taxiways, and two tenants – Executive Autopilots and SACjet – built new hangars.

Though assured in the near term, the airport’s long-term health is somewhat uncertain: The City of Sacramento, which leases the land to the airport, has been mulling the economic feasibility of closing the airport in lieu of a residential and commercial development. The airport, however, continues to move ahead with a master plan study that will plot its desired path through the next 20 years.