At the annual State of the City event Tuesday morning, Mayor Helene Schneider vowed to continue advocating for more nonstop service from Santa Barbara Airport to destinations around the country. “We’ve always known that we can fill planes out of Santa Barbara Airport,” she said. “The issue has been getting the seats from the airlines to fill.”
Schneider’s comments came after two notable announcements from United Airlines and American Airlines earlier this year, and as the airport announced it expects to increase passenger capacity in 2017 by more than 10 percent.
United Airlines is increasing its capacity departing from Santa Barbara to San Francisco by maintaining the current six daily departures to SFO, but also serving most flights with larger aircraft, airport officials said. The airline will also be utilizing larger planes on both of its daily flights out of Santa Barbara to Denver. “Since the wave of airline mergers and buyouts began in 2005, most airlines have cut back service to smaller airports like Santa Barbara, even though the market is there,” said Airport Director Hazel Johns. “We’re hopeful this is the start of a long-term growth trend.”
American Airlines will also be bumping up capacity on its flights to Dallas/Ft. Worth by upgrading from a regional jet to a 128-seat Airbus 319 beginning April 4.