Santa Barbara Airport celebrates building’s 10th anniversary
The Santa Barbara Municipal Airport this month is celebrating the 10th anniversary for its airline terminal.
The airport is sharing historical highlights and trivia questions via social media on its Facebook, Instagram and Twitter platforms. It also planned to present snacks and surprise giveaways to passengers on Wednesday.
The 72,000-square foot building was completed in 2011 and features a Spanish Colonial Revival appearance.
Today, the terminal serves four major airlines and handles more than two dozen departures a day, according to a news release. It has four glass boarding bridges and four outdoor ground boarding positions.
The terminal serves planes varying from a 50-seat CRJ-200 to a 172-passenger 737-7 MAX.
In 2019, the Santa Barbara Airport handled nearly 1 million passengers. According to a news release, the airport “is on track toward a swift recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The terminal project started construction in 2008. Besides adding the terminal, the project included restoration of the original terminal, the Earle Ovington Terminal. It’s named after a pioneering Santa Barbara air mail aviator. Today, the Ovington terminal, which is next to the newer terminal, features space for meetings and offices.
The airport started commercial air service in 1936 in the terminal that United Airlines built under a 50-year lease. The terminal resumed commercial service after World War II, and the federal government deeded the property to the city of Santa Barbara.
Over the decades, the original building was expanded with various additions and some outdoor tented facilities.
The Ovington terminal was seen as antiquated and ill-equipped for modern needs after changes in airport security after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. So the new one was built.
“We have learned a lot in the last ten years, and we are thrilled that the community has come to embrace SBA as the region’s closest and most convenient airport,” Airport Director Henry Thompson said in the news release. “We are here to serve the travel needs of the community, while we also warmly welcome visitors to our beautiful area.”
Highlights during the last 10 years included:
— In 2011, the airport averaged 1,000 passengers boarding per day. On busy days in July 2021 there were more than 2,000 passengers boarding.
— The terminal was certified “Gold” by the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
— United Airlines is the longest standing airline partner since 1936, and the newest, Southwest Airlines, was welcomed this year.
— The terminal features numerous works of local artistry including “Fiesta,” a 60-foot mural by local painter Channing Peake near the security checkpoint.