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Local Spotlight: The Santa Barbara Airport


Front of the Santa Barbara Airport

Image Courtesy of Santa Barbara Airport

As the 13th largest airport in California, Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) typically serves more than a million passengers every year. Known as the gateway to the American Rivera, SBA currently offers nonstop flights to Dallas-Ft. Worth, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Phoenix, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle. Newest flight offerings are United to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, and Alaska Airlines nonstop flights to San Diego.

Airport of Choice

The airport’s mission for the future is to remain the Tri-County region’s “Airport of Choice.” Toward that goal, SBA now includes a 60,000 square foot terminal added to the original 7,000 square foot historic one.

READ: Santa Barbara Day Trips: Convenient, Safe and Sanity Savers

There’s a short-term parking lot, a terminal loop road with a dedicated lane for public transit, shuttles, and taxis, a longer front curb for private vehicle loading and unloading, and relocation and rehabilitation of the historic space.

Sustainable design was one of the top priorities for the Airline Terminal Project. Toward that goal, the terminal is registered with the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the nationally recognized benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

SBA’s Rich History

In the years 1927-28, Charles Lindbergh, arguably the most famous aviator in history, visited friends in Santa Barbara, landing at the Chadbourne-Donze airfield in Carpinteria, located at the present-day intersection of Carpinteria Avenue and Dump Road. The original hanger still stands today. Lindbergh also utilized Earle Ovington’s airfield, Casa Loma, located where the Santa Barbara Golf Club is now, off Las Positas Road. On one visit, Lindbergh eschewed both the Carpinteria and Santa Barbara fields and simply used the grounds of Cima del Mundo, an 80-plus-acre Montecito estate, as a landing strip.

READ: Tips on Incorporating Your Travels Into Your Home Decor

SBA is rich in history, dating back to 1914 when Lincoln Beachey flew an airplane across Goleta Valley. Two years later the Loughead brothers (later known as the Lockheed brothers), established a seaplane factory on State Street and constructed a wooden ramp on West Beach to launch their planes.

In 1928, Gordon Sackett and Royce Stetson landed a Hisso-powered airplane in a cow pasture near the corner of Hollister and Fairview Avenues and set up a flight school on the spot. That first airstrip marked the beginning of what was to become the Santa Barbara Airport.

As airplane manufacturing grew in the late 1930s, that simple airstrip developed into an airfield. Western General set up shop and began producing Meteor airplanes, while Santa Barbara Airways’ founder Frederick Stearns II built two additional runways and two large hangars. Stearns also installed the first radio equipment at the airfield.

Commercial service began in 1932 with Pacific Seaboard Airlines, and United Airlines inaugurated service from Santa Barbara/Goleta in 1936.

READ: Hug a Santa Barbara Tree Today

In 1941, groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the Santa Barbara Airport. William Edwards and Joseph Plunkett, an architectural team whose work includes the Arlington Theatre and the National Armory, designed the Spanish-style terminal building. They helped shape the Mediterranean style of our city.

Portrait of handsome pilot entering private jet with copilot in background

Local airports serviced by private jets

Those who live here have more options when it comes to flying. In fact, there are seven individual airports located within a convenient 50-mile radius of Santa Barbara. The closest and most obvious choice SBA, located at 500 James Fowler Road, is just eight miles away from the downtown area of the city. Another convenient option, the Shepherd Ranch Airport (0CA4) is just 25 miles away.

Private jet companies in Santa Barbara

There are many companies in Santa Barbara that offer private jet service, but if you’re looking for the ultimate experience in air travel to or from Santa Barbara, you might want to try Paramount Business Jets (PBJ). The company seems to have countless business jets and helicopters available, as well as a healthy selection of airports to fly into and out of.

I appreciate the fact that there are no hidden or membership fees, and no upfront investment when you charter a plane with PBJ. They can also help those looking to purchase their own aircraft. I’ve included their website above, or you can call them at +1- 877-727-253

With our perfect Mediterranean weather, our beautiful beaches, amazing architecture and healthy lifestyle, it’s no wonder more people want to fly in and out of the Santa Barbara Airport. If you decide to take this trend one step further and move here, please take a look at my current listingsI’m sure you’ll see something you like and will be happy to arrange a private tour. Selling your home? Call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at to discuss your situation and we can come up with a winning strategy. Be sure to check out my website and follow me on Facebook.



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