Delta said it intends to offer one daily flight to Atlanta, leaving at 7:25 a.m. and arriving at 2:55 p.m., with the return flight departing at 7:23 p.m. and arriving in Santa Barbara at 8:55 p.m.
There will be two daily flights to Salt Lake City, departing Santa Barbara at 6 a.m. and 1:20 p.m., and arriving at 8:55 a.m. and 4:15 p.m., respectively.
The return flights will depart at 11:15 a.m. and 10:45 p.m., arriving at 12:18 p.m. and 11:51 p.m., respectively.
The airline plans to use 130-passenger Airbus A-220-300 aircraft on these routes, with the new flights beginning June 7, 2024.
Travelers will be able to book those flights beginning Saturday.
“We warmly welcome Delta Air Lines back to Santa Barbara, and we are honored by their incredible commitment to our community,” said Airport Director Chris Hastert. “This two-hub announcement demonstrates their desire to serve the needs of all travelers to/from this area with the highest level of service and connections available.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Delta had been offering three daily nonstop flights between Santa Barbara and Salt Lake City, but discontinued that service in July 202o as airline passenger traffic cratered.
Delta also announced Friday that it will begin service between Atlanta and Fresno, and resume daily flights from that hub in the Southeast to Burbank and Oakland. Additionally, it is resuming flights between Atlanta and Reno, Nevada, near Lake Tahoe.
“By reopening service to Santa Barbara and delivering more ways to access sought-after destinations throughout the U.S. West, we’re more ready than ever to take our customers on their next great adventures – with the service, reliability and convenience they’ve come to know and expect when flying Delta,” said Joe Esposito, Delta’s senior vice president, in a press release.
Airbus heralds the A-220 for its fuel efficiency, lower noise profile and reduced emissions, calling it a “true community-minded jetliner.”
The move by Delta will increase the Santa Barbara Airport’s overall passenger capacity by 780 arriving and departing seats per day.
While the return of a major carrier no doubt will be welcomed by many local travelers, it likely will contribute to complaints about airport noise, especially with early morning and late-night arrivals and departures.
But Hastert noted that “for both destinations, they’ll be using very modern aircraft,” which should help with the noise issue.
The Santa Barbara Airport currently has 23 daily nonstop commercial flights — on Alaska, American, Southwest, and United Airlines.
Alaska flies to Seattle and Portland; American to Dallas-Ft. Worth and Phoenix; Southwest to Sacramento, Oakland, Las Vegas and Denver; and United to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Denver.
Seasonal flights have been offered in the past to Chicago and San Diego.
The Santa Barbara Airport experienced record commercial air traffic in 2022, with a tally of more than 1.2 million passengers.