Napa flight school to end operations after 40 years

NAPA -- After more than 40 years in Napa, the International Air Service Company, better known as IASCO, will be suspending flight operations and moving its remaining 25 students to the company’s second facility in Redding on March 4, according to company President Robert Walters.

Some of the 19 Napa employees will be offered positions at the Redding facility, which currently hosts 106 students and 48 employees, Mr. Walters said.

The decision follows financial pressures stemming from the 2010 exit of the school’s long-time partner, Japan Airlines. IASCO operated the school for JAL and its parent company JALUX between 1971 and 2010, hosting more than 100 students a year until JALUX declared bankruptcy and negotiated an end to their lease. IASCO leased a portion of the former space for a smaller operation, training future Air China pilots on small aircraft.

Aircraft used for training will be relocated to Redding, though the fate of other equipment has yet to be decided, Mr. Walters said.

IASCO (www.iasco.com) entered into a two-year, $229,000 lease at the Napa County Airport in April 2011, occupying 33,000 square feet of the former JAL facility. Mr. Walters said that the company has not yet decided its course of action concerning the facilities, which the county offered for a reduced $70,000 in the first year to help mitigate startup costs.

Though currently hosting 25 students, the hangar, administrative and maintenance space included in the lease were projected to be sufficient enough to host up to 100 students by the end of the two-year lease, according to a report to the Napa County Board of Supervisors.

In addition to flight training, IASCO has operated a flight crew leasing business since 1959. Since the flight school began in 1971, IASCO has trained over 2,000 students, Mr. Walters said.

The company has started to look for prospective buyers to continue its operation after the retirement of the current owner, though Mr. Walters did not disclose further details.


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