Christopher Hastert

Christopher Hastert

Santa Barbara named Christopher Hastert as its new airport director Tuesday.

He comes to the city from his post as general manager of the Santa Maria Public Airport District.

The City Council confirmed Hastert’s appointment and Oct. 3 start date at its Tuesday meeting.

The Santa Barbara Airport’s previous director, Henry Thompson, left in December for a job in Fresno, and Brian D’Amour of the Public Works Department has been serving as interim director.

Hastert has more than 30 years of airport and airport management experience, including his time at the Santa Maria Public Airport District and serving as deputy director of airports for Ventura County.

He was chosen from a field of 42 applicants after the city’s nationwide search, spokeswoman Shelly Cone said.

“Mr. Hastert’s experience demonstrates strong leadership, business and communications skills, as well as a focus on positively engaging with the community,” City Administrator Rebecca Bjork said in a statement Tuesday. “We are pleased that he will be bringing those skills to the Santa Barbara Airport in this complex role.”

“Providing a convenient, stress-free travel experience for our passengers, promoting the welfare and success of the general aviation community, all while minimizing impacts on neighboring areas, are my key goals and objectives,” Hastert said in a statement.

In announcing Hastert’s appointment, Cone said: 

“Mr. Hastert is a private pilot and has experience balancing the needs of both commercial and general aviation at a busy general airport. Highlights of his career at the Santa Maria Public Airport District include being a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for the Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan Update; working on the Santa Maria Airport Master Plan Update; successfully completing an environmentally complicated FAA Land Release; reviving the Central Coast Airfest, and the completion of the Santa Maria Airport Runway Extension. He has certifications from AAAE and TSA.

“Mr. Hastert added that he and his wife, Kathy, and their sons Riley and Colin appreciate the warm Santa Barbara welcome they’ve already received, and that he is readily available to discuss with staff and the community their airport needs and expectations.”

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