Clay Lacy Aviation begins $10-million expansion at Van Nuys Airport

Clay Lacy, owner of Clay Lacy Aviation, at Van Nuys Airport in 1999.
(Boris Yaro / Los Angeles Times)

Clay Lacy Aviation broke ground Thursday on a $10-million expansion of its operations at Van Nuys Airport, putting to use a 6-acre parcel that has been vacant since 1957.

The so-called South Campus project includes a terminal, two hangars, offices, conference facilities and ramp space for aircraft. An indoor event space will feature Lacy’s Lear 24, the first business jet to land at Van Nuys in 1964.

Once completed in 2016, the new and existing facilities will cover 14 acres and generate more than $31 million in lease payments to Los Angeles World Airports as well as $2.4 million in property taxes over 30 years.


The development will create about 25 aviation-related jobs with an annual payroll of more than $2 million, according to Lacy Aviation.

The company, which opened in 1968 with a single Learjet, now has a fleet of 75 business jets and more than 300 employees who provide a variety of aviation services from maintenance to aircraft sales.

“I’m proud to say that we employ more people at higher-wage jobs and generate the highest revenue per acre than anyone on the airfield,” said Lacy, a veteran aviator and record-setting airline pilot. “More importantly, the economic benefits and jobs we generate stay in the city of Los Angeles.”

In addition to the South Campus project, Lacy announced a new scholarship program for two students a year who attend the aviation mechanics school at Van Nuys Airport. The campus is operated by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Thursday’s ceremonies were attended by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Councilwoman Nury Martinez, business people, educators, community leaders and 100 students from the mechanics school.

“Clay Lacy is a homegrown, family-owned company that has been headquartered at Van Nuys Airport for nearly a half century,” Garcetti said. Its “growing operations demonstrate that our city is the place for businesses to start, grow and launch new ideas.”

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