Santa Barbara Airbus on Tuesday night received the 2012 Outstanding Operator of the Year Award from members of the California Bus Association during the group’s 39th annual convention Gala Awards banquet held at Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort.
More than 230 people attended the five-day/four-night convention from around the state. Santa Barbara Airbus co-founders/owners Eric and Kelly Onnen and their partner Mark Klopstein received the award.
“On behalf of my entire staff at Santa Barbara Airbus, I am honored to receive this award from my peers in the bus industry, from fellow operators from all around California,” Eric Onnen said. “We’ve been in business since 1983, right here in Santa Barbara, and to win this award here at home makes it even more distinctive.”
According to the CBA, criteria for the Outstanding Operator of the Year Award includes: engages in sound business practices; has an excellent safety record; regularly employs innovative marketing, operations and customer service approaches; is a good corporate/business citizen within the community; raises the standards for all motor coach companies; and raises the profile of the entire motor coach industry.
Specific eligibility requirements include: current operating authority from California Public Utilities Commission; must have a satisfactory or comparable safety rating from the California Department of Transportation and the California Highway Patrol; and must be a member of the California Bus Association in good standing.
The Onnens and Klopstein inaugurated their transportation service from Santa Barbara County to Los Angeles International Airport on April 4, 1983. The company began with two 10-passenger vans running five trips to and from SB/LAX Monday through Saturday.
Twenty-nine years later in 2012, Santa Barbara Airbus has a fleet of 19 deluxe motor coaches and four mini-coaches seating 21 to 25 passengers, and “The Black Pearl Limo Bus.” Services not only include 16 daily trips to/from SB/LAX; but also offer private charter bus service, public day trips and multiday adventures.
Santa Barbara Airbus started in the spare room of the Onnens’ Santa Barbara-area condominium, and after several moves for expansion, is now located at 750 Technology Drive in Goleta. The always locally owned and operated business employs approximately 60 people, completes more than 1.2 million miles annually, and now leases more than 53,000 square feet of fenced parking area, a 5,000-square-foot office building and a 5,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art maintenance facility.
Click here for more information about Santa Barbara Airbus.
— Laura Kath is a publicist representing Santa Barbara Airbus.