Nine years after leaving Santa Barbara Municipal Airport due to consolidation in the airline industry, Delta Airlines will return in August with three daily flights to Salt Lake City.
The new service was unveiled during a press event Monday morning in front of the airport entrance.
As a card bearing the Santa Barbara airport logo was lifted from its tripod stand to reveal the new airline and destination, Mayor Cathy Murillo told those in attendance she was she was “thrilled to announce the return of Delta Airlines to our region.”
Flights to Salt Lake City are scheduled to begin on Aug. 13, but tickets are now on sale.
The service will be provided on a 76-seat Embrarer E-175 aircraft with departure times of 6 a.m., 1:05 p.m., and 4:45 p.m., according to Delta news release.
Aaron Keller, airport operations manager, expressed pleasure that the process of getting Delta back has finally come to fruition.
“It is an amazing accomplishment to see that Delta Airlines sees the lucrative market within the region here and is willing to come back in to serve the community that they once served before,” he said.
Mr. Keller added that Salt Lake City is one of Delta’s major hubs near the West Coast and will thus provide its fliers with many connections to other destinations.
Santa Barbara will be the 13th city in California served by the airline and its 330th destination overall, according to the news release.
As for how the new service will impact Santa Barbara’s tourism industry, Visit Santa Barbara CEO and president Kathy Janega-Dykes called Delta’s return “a win for Santa Barbara from every angle,” predicting it would bolster the momentum of growth and acclaim Santa Barbara’s tourism has experienced lately.
“This increased air capacity enables us to target new leisure visitors as well as meeting planners in new geographic markets, so it goes without saying that this route opens up a world of possibilities for our local residents as well as our local corporate travelers,” she said.
Deanna Zachrisson, airport business development manager, said it was always expected that Delta would one day return to Santa Barbara because until the 2010 hiatus, Salt Lake City to Santa Barbara was “always a really successful route for Delta.”
Several factors needed to materialize in order to make Delta’s return possible, among them getting new aircraft for the service.
Ms. Zachrisson said of the Embrarer E-175s, “They are beautiful aircraft. People will love them, they’re comfortable, they’re brand-spanking new.”
Tickets for flights from Santa Barbara to Salt Lake City can be purchased on the Delta Airlines website.