In the early 1940's, during World War II, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed what was then known as Santa Maria Army Base to provide training facilities for crews of B-25 aircraft. A few years later the B-25 groups left and the facility became a training field for P-38 pilots and ground crews.
In 1946, following the war's end, the County of Santa Barbara acquired the property by means of an interim permit issued by the War Assets Administration. The County retained control of the facility until 1949, at which time the City of Santa Maria obtained an undivided one-half interest. This dual ownership/management proved cumbersome to administer, and in March of 1964 transfer of the airport to the newly formed Santa Maria Public Airport District was accomplished.
Santa Maria Public Airport District encompasses an area of 400 square miles extending from the Santa Maria/Cuyama River at the north to a point three miles south of the community of Los Alamos at the south. Then an east-west direction, the District commences at Point Sal at the Pacific Ocean and extends eastward a distance of 30 miles, or 10 miles east of the dam at Twitchell Reservoir. The District is governed by a five-member Board of Directors who serve four-year terms and are elected at large. The directors entrust the responsibility for the efficient execution of airport policies to their designated representative, the General Manager.
Since formation of the District, numerous projects have been accomplished which directly and indirectly benefit each person in the District. Examples of these projects include design and construction of Skyway Drive from Betteravia Road to the Orcutt Expressway, design and construction of the planned industrial park east of Skyway Drive, and construction of the new airport terminal building, crash/fire/rescue station, air traffic control tower, new owner built hangars area, and other facilities adjacent to the primary runway.
Currently Santa Maria Public Airport encompasses approximately 2,598 acres, including two active runways. The airport provides facilities for one regional airline (Skywest/United) and serves as home base for over 200 general aviation aircraft.