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Santa Barbara Airbus Marks 30th Anniversary and Unveils New Vehicles

Eric Onnen, CEO and co-founder of Santa Barbara Airbus, announced that the company will be celebrating its 30th anniversary next Thursday with arrivals of a new 2013 MCI J4500 56-passenger motor coach with ADA lift as well as two 21-passenger Ford mini-coaches.

The coach features free Wi-Fi, AC power outlets at every seat, Bosch sound system and four 10.4-inch LCD wide-screen monitors, a quieter, fuel-saving 2010 EPA-compliant engine technology and electronic stability control for an even smoother, cleaner ride. Both mini-coaches offer leatherette seats, video monitors and easy access doors.

“We’ve logged more than 30 million miles in the last three decades and seen tremendous changes, from stop lights on Highway 101 at State Street, the introduction of HOV/carpool lanes on Interstate 405; using pay phones for driver check-ins to cell phones, and going from a card file reservation system to computers and fully integrated online bookings,” Onnen said. “However, some fundamental things have stayed the same, such as our commitment and delivery of consistent, safe, friendly customer service.

“Our relationships with our passengers, suppliers and our staff, most of them with us more than seven years, continue to be based on the principle of treat others the way you would like to be treated.”

Santa Barbara Airbus received the prestigious 2012 Operator of the Year Award by the California Business Association and in February was named a Santa Barbara County Certified Green Business. On April 4, 1983, Onnen and wife Kelly along with their partner, Mark Klopstein, inaugurated their transportation service from Santa Barbara County to Los Angeles International Airport.

The company began with two 10-passenger vans running five trips to/from SB/LAX from Monday through Saturday. In 2013, Santa Barbara Airbus has a fleet of 20 deluxe motor coaches, 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 offers 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.

Santa Barbara Airbus employs about 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 maintenance facility.

— Laura Kath is a publicist representing Santa Barbara Airbus.

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