Business fliers who regularly fly into the Los Angeles area and use one of the well established Southern California general aviation airports for all their needs, including maintenance, tend to pay top dollar for doing so. One relative newcomer in the region aims to surpass operators’ expectations and requirements without breaking the bank.
Threshold Aviation Group, located at Chino Airport (KCNO), is less than six miles from Ontario International Airport (KONT). Chino Airport has long served GA, and in recent years has been gaining favor with the business aviation community, thanks to the vision and insight of Threshold’s owner and CEO, Mark DiLullo.
After leaving the U.S. Air Force (where he flew T-38s) DiLullo headed west, leaving his home in New Jersey and relocating to Long Beach, Calif., where he became a flight instructor. One of DiLullo’s customers asked him to find him an airplane, which he quickly did.
Word spread, and one happy customer led to more. DiLullo saw opportunity and began brokering and managing aircraft for his growing customer base. With this expansion came the need for office and hangar space, which he found at Ontario Airport. As the operation continued to grow, it demanded more hangar and maintenance space, but real estate at a major Los Angeles airport is expensive. With overhead costs soaring, DiLullo began searching for an alternative and saw potential in a group of old gutted Lockheed hangars at Chino Airport. “I wanted to save my customers money, but still had to make a profit,” he said.
Today, the company operates out of two of the giant hangars located on Chino Airport’s south side and has plans for yet more expansion. Threshold’s FBO has some of the lowest fuel prices in SoCal. “Our FBO was designed to give corporate aviation a viable alternative to Southern California’s congested airports, which are literally only minutes away.” DiLullo has seen a growing trend for operators to buy fuel at Threshold’s FBO and then reposition to pick up passengers at Burbank, Van Nuys or other major airports, which helps to keep their operating cost down. Doug Crowther, Threshold’s director of business development, added, “How many FBOs in the LA area can claim no landing or ramp fees, some of the lowest fuel prices in California, no noise restrictions and a 7,000-foot-long runway, along with enough hangar space for a BBJ?”
Maintenance and Interiors Service
Threshold also provides management services and operates a Part 145 repair station under Aviation Maintenance Group. With in-house interior and cabinet shops, Threshold Manufacturing offers interior designs and completions. Along with interior upgrades and refurbishments, Threshold offers avionics upgrades and paint services. The company also operates Threshold Air Charter, serving both domestic and international travelers. “My vision has always been a ‘one-stop shop’ for the corporate aviation community,” says DiLullo.
At the time of AIN’s visit, half a dozen aircraft were undergoing maintenance or interior upgrades. Among them: a GIV getting a 72-month inspection, a King Air 200 having its engines and props removed to be sent out for overhaul and a CitationJet CJ3 that had just undergone a wing de-mating. The Cessna had also received an interior refurbishment and fresh paint.
A Challenger 601 was in for heavy maintenance, including fuel tank removal, as well as custom interior upgrades and new stripes and tail numbers. The company is currently looking to install an in-house spray booth to accomplish all of its paint work on site.
Although many of Threshold’s clients have upgraded to newer aircraft, Threshold still performs inspections and maintenance on some of the older GIIs still flying. “We have a good reputation when it comes to our maintenance programs,” said Tom Bressan, Threshold’s COO. Gulfstreams account for nearly half of the company’s managed aircraft, Crowther said. He added, “We have the experience, knowledge and tooling to perform all the required inspections, preventive maintenance and repairs in-house, which saves our customers money.”
Threshold also operates a fuel service out of Auburn Airport (KAUN) near Sacramento, Calif.