The faltering economy continued to devastate air travel totals in 2009, but one regional airport said the economic tailspin may have actually helped it in the long run.
Year-to-date declines in tri-county passengers ranged from 25 percent in Oxnard to roughly 9 percent in Santa Barbara thanks to higher fuel costs, flight cutbacks and fewer travelers. But the competitive environment also means that Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, the region’s largest, is coming in millions underbudget on a massive terminal project.
“It’s definitely a silver lining,” said Santa Barbara Municipal Airport Assistant Director Hazel Johns. “The down economy in this particular case really helped us because the abundance of bidders made all the difference in our project costs.”