Now with five daily flights, ‘it makes sense;’ previous provider KaiserAir expandingSANTA ROSA – Horizon Air will begin providing its own ground operations for its five roundtrip flights at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport.

The move is an indication of the success of Horizon’s air service in the county.

“The volume of business we’re doing here has increased to the point where we’re ready to expand our staff and provide our own ground services,” said Horizon spokesman Dan Russo.

“When we were running three flights a day it was cost effective to contract the operations,” he said.

“Now we’re up to five flights, and it makes sense to have our own people do the job,” he said.

KaiserAir has provided ticketing, baggage checking, plane loading and unloading, fueling, minor maintenance and other airport functions for Horizon Air since it began service in 2007.

According to Glen Barrett, manager of KaiserAir’s Jet Center and other operations at the airport, KaiserAir was informed that since Santa Rosa is considered a high-volume area, the move made economic sense.

Horizon will hire six part-time and four full-time employees plus a manager to handle the operations.

Oakland-based KaiserAir operates the Santa Rosa Jet Center at the airport, which it purchased from Apex in 2008. The center, a “fixed-base” operation, provides charter planes with hangar space, a private terminal and maintenance.

In less than a month the company will complete what’s estimated to be a $6 million to $7 million upgrade and expansion project, including new hangars, a fuel depot, a larger terminal and heavy-duty ramp.

The Horizon contract and the Jet Center were separate operations, said Mr. Barrett, and the staff of the Jet Center won’t be affected.

In 2008 KaiserAir had 18 employees including the crew that served Horizon. At that time it was planning to add Jet Center staff following the expansion.

“Those KaiserAir employees who provide ground service to Horizon are welcome to apply to Horizon for the new positions,” said Mr. Russo.

KaiserAir will continue to operate the ground service for Horizon for 60 days.