Travelers using Santa Maria Public Airport will soon be flying on regional jets instead of turboprop aircraft and will have easier connections to dozens of cities as a result of upgrades announced today by the Airport District.

United Airlines flights serving the Santa Maria Public Airport will begin flying to and from San Francisco instead of Los Angeles on May 6.

That will enhance one-stop connections to the Central Coast’s currently most popular destinations, an airport spokesman said.

It will also make new international destinations available, including Paris, France; Chengdu, China; Frankfurt, Germany; Taipei, Taiwan; and Osaka, Japan.

The new United Express service, operated by Skywest, will replace the 30-passenger Embraer EMB 120 turboprop aircraft currently used on flights to Los Angeles with smoother, faster 50-passenger Canadair Regional Jet 200 aircraft.

United Express flights to San Francisco will leave Santa Maria at 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily. Arrivals from San Francisco will be at 1:32 and 11:47 p.m.

Bookings on the new flights are now available at United.com.

March 24, 2015  •  Staff report – Santa Maria Times