Allegiant Air service to Hawaii is saying aloha to the Santa Maria Public Airport.
The air carrier made it official Tuesday morning – nonstop jet service between Santa Maria and Honolulu International Airport will begin Nov. 17.
Airport General Manager Chris Hastert, Santa Maria Mayor Larry Lavagnino, members of the Santa Maria City Council, Chamber of Commerce and the airport’s Board of Directors all celebrated the news in the passenger terminal.
Hastert thanked everyone who played a role in securing the new service for the airport including:
- The Transportation Safety Administration for its continual upgrade of security and passenger screening procedures that Hastert said will allow the airport to handle the 200-plus passengers flying Allegiant’s 757s to the islands;
- Tartaglia Engineering and Granite Construction for teaming up to complete the airport’s 1,700-foot runway extension, which makes it 8,004 feet in length; “We could not have done this flight to Hawaii without extending the runway,” Hastert said.
- The Chamber of Commerce assisted airport staff in landing Allegiant’s Hawaiian connection with an extensive presentation effort;
- Santa Maria city government and administration, which provides police and fire protection along with support from the City Council.
“We want to thank Allegiant for selecting Santa Maria as one of their six locations to fly to Hawaii. There has been a lot of work getting us to this point,” Hastert said, adding the Board of Directors led the effort. “They have done a great job the last few years really trying to improve the airport getting us ready for the future.”
Last month, the company announced its Hawaiian service would begin in June from Fresno and Las Vegas. On Tuesday, the company added Santa Maria, Stockton, Eugene, Ore. and Bellingham, Wash. to that list.
Hastert listed the airport’s many amenities that have been improved in recent years as boosting its bid for additional flights.
The new baggage claim and passenger terminal were built in 2008. The runway extension project began in 2004 and was just completed this month. And the parking lot rehabilitation and improvement have all added to the appeal of the facility, he said.
“They basically showed (Allegiant) there is a market here,” City Manager Rick Haydon said of the airport district and Chamber effort. “If you build it they will come. You make the flights available, people will come.”
To kick off the service, Allegiant is offering introductory one-way fares to Hawaii for as low as $199, including taxes and fees. Flights and vacation packages, which are Allegiant’s specialties, are available for booking through Jan. 15.
The airport also offered an attractive incentive package to the carrier. It will waive landing fees and fuel flowage fees for the first year of its Hawaiian service. The airport will also participate in Allegiant’s marketing efforts.
“When you look at the airport business park that is going to come on line, and Union Valley Parkway, which is part of the bigger plan for the business park, a lot of Santa Maria’s future is tied to the airport,” Economic Development Director Dave Cross said. “They’re really stepping up to the plate. This is good for the airport, good for the city and good for the entire region.”
One of the final steps for the airport is to provide a passenger loading ramp tall enough to reach the doors of the Boeing 757s that will land for the weekly service. The board of directors will take that action on Thursday.
“We’re really excited. This is a really big thing for Santa Maria,” said board President Carl Engel Jr.
By Brian Bullock/Staff Writerfirstname.lastname@example.org Santa Maria Times | Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Visitors to the Santa Maria Public Airport will be noticing a little more “island style” starting today after Allegiant Air announces it will begin flights to Hawaii on Nov. 17.
Santa Maria is one of four western cities Allegiant serves that will be getting flights to Honolulu. The others are Stockton, Eugene, Ore. and Bellingham, Wash. Flights from Bellingham will land at both Honolulu and Maui.
Andrew Levy, president of Allegiant Travel Co., said Santa Maria’s location and its already active service to Las Vegas played a big role in securing the Hawaiian service. “There’s a lot of service in the Bay Area and there’s a lot of service in Los Angeles. It’s a fairly lengthy drive to the Los Angeles market. We feel that insulation will make it an attractive option for travelers,” Levy said. “We believe we’ll be able to pull people from all over the area. We think it will be a good route.”
The announcement caps a process that began two years ago when the airlines purchased six Boeing 757s with the intention of beginning service from its West Coast locations to Hawaii.
The airline announced last month it would fly to Hawaii from both Fresno and its Las Vegas hub beginning in June.
Levy said the service from Santa Maria will begin just in time for the holiday travel season. Initial service from Santa Maria will be a single weekly flight. The airline currently offers four flights a week from Santa Maria to Las Vegas.
Allegiant Air Communications Director Brian Davis said bookings have already gone so well in Fresno that the airline will be adding a second weekly flight from that airport.
Levy said market demand will determine whether additional flights are eventually scheduled.
“We’ve always had Santa Maria targeted. We’ve been looking at Hawaii for a few years and Santa Maria was always one of those on the list,” Levy said. “Santa Maria has been a very good performing market since we started.”
This isn’t the first time the airline has offered something new to Santa Maria-based travelers. In 2007, the company began direct flights to Phoenix, but the service was discontinued after five months because of escalating costs and lack of demand.
The addition comes at a good time for the airport, which has just completed a 1,700-foot runway extension that lengthens the main runway to 8,004 feet.
Airport General Manager Chris Hastert said the announcement is good news for everyone at the airport and in the region. “It’s exciting any time you can announce new air service, especially when it’s something out of the ordinary,” Hastert said. “It’s great timing. I think our (Board of Directors) has done a great job of preparing the airport with the runway extension, the terminal expansion and parking improvements to get ready for this.”
He said the airport’s convenience, with easy access and free parking, match up well with Allegiant’s philosophy of packaging airfare, lodging and transportation.
By Brian Bullock / Staff Writer / email@example.com Santa Maria Times | Posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
A request for $6.1 million in state funds to build an interchange at Highway 101 to connect with the future Union Valley Parkway now has an OK from the California Transportation Commission.
The decision was announced Monday by Santa Barbara County 4th District Supervisor Joni Gray. “Caltrans can now advertise for construction bids,” Gray said in a statement. “A contract is expected to be awarded in August, and construction should start by the end of summer.” Construction on the interchange is expected to be completed in December 2013.
Plans for the Union Valley Parkway project and accompanying interchange have been in process since the 1960s, and work on the road project — a joint venture of the county and the city of Santa Maria — began in 1997.
In April, the county paved the way for eminent domain proceedings against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on three parcels that comprise 70 percent of the right of way necessary to finish the road project, which would provide a key roadway link from Highway 101 to South Blosser Road near the Santa Maria Regional Airport when complete. The county is responsible for obtaining the right of way for the final leg of the project, and the city of Santa Maria will handle the road construction.
Based on 2005 traffic counts, the new Highway 101 interchange would see 10,000 vehicles a day once it’s opened, according to the county, and the UVP corridor is expected to carry between 16,000 and 19,000 vehicles a day between Highway 135 and Highway 101.
The state transportation commission approved the county Association of Government’s request for the $6.1 million on Thursday. The money comes from Proposition 1B funds and will be matched by $6.1 million in local Measure A sales tax money. The measure was overwhelmingly approved by county voters in 2008 and authorized continuation of a half-cent sales tax for transportation infrastructure improvements in the county.
The interchange project includes construction of a bridge over Highway 101 at the east end of Union Valley Parkway, with on and off ramps connecting the road to the freeway both north and southbound.
Access to Orcutt is now provided by two freeway interchanges at Clark Avenue and Santa Maria Way.
Chris Hastert, general manager at Santa Maria Airport, said in a statement that access to Highway 101 will be another tool to attract business to the area as the Santa Maria Public Airport District moves forward with a future business park.
Staff report, Santa Maria Times | Posted: Tuesday, May 1, 2012