Monday, July 23 , 2018, 7:11 am | Fair 64º



Santa Barbara Airport Flying High With Top FAA Award

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Western Pacific Region awarded Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) its 2018 Outstanding Airport Award in a ceremony last week in Los Angeles.

The honor recognizes the “exemplary work done by the City of Santa Barbara Airport Department” in proactively completing important safety projects as well as outstanding management of federal grant funding provided by the agency.

The FAA also praised SBA’s cooperative relationship with its office in Los Angeles.

“The fact that the FAA recognized Santa Barbara, among the dozens of airports they serve in the West, is a testament to the commitment of our engineers and operations staff,” said airport director Hazel Johns.

The FAA is the most important funding source for airport improvements with an estimated $3.2 billion annually in grants nationwide.

Airports must make a case for the importance of every project, in adherence to strict deadlines and planning protocols, often in competition with other airports seeking funding. The FAA prioritizes well-planned projects that promote or improve air safety and security.

Every year, the staff at SBA lays out a multi-year plan to prioritize ways to make the Airport safer, more secure and work better for passengers, airlines and employees. Planning for projects and their funding most often takes place many years before actual construction takes place.

Currently, SBA is near finalization of a complete resurfacing of its main commercial runway that was funded by the FAA for $8.5 million.

The airport also recently completed the purchase of a new firetruck — in the aviation world known as an Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicle — for $644,000 in FAA grant funding.

Other significant future projects include a technology upgrade for the airport’s security systems in 2019 and an extension of the commercial runway’s northern parallel taxiway in 2021.

Santa Barbara Airport served 711,000 passengers in 2017 and is the 13th largest airport in California. Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines serve the airport. In August, Frontier Airlines and Sun Country Airlines will begin service to Denver and Minneapolis. SBA is a self-sustaining enterprise operated by the City of Santa Barbara.

— Lynn Houston for Santa Barbara Airport.


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