January 28, 2023
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New terminal a big relief


Note: Editor Henry Dubroff sent a quick update after his first flight through the new $54 million Santa Barbara airport terminal:

The game of Santa Barbara hold ‘em is over.

The city’s new airport terminal had a business-as-usual attitude as operations were well under way on the second day of a full schedule. Most welcome were lavatories that were fully functioning in the boarding area (previously, if you had checked in through security and had to go, you were plain out of luck).

Vendors reported a few technical glitches with register scanners, airline staff said handling new procedures was time-consuming, and the boarding area temperature was warm.

But Santa Barbara has its first new airport since World War II.

Previous story, published August 17, 2011:

Santa Barbara’s latest and most engaging twist on Colonial Revival architecture will open to the public on Aug. 18 as the city’s new airline terminal becomes operational.

The terminal is the lynchpin of a $54 million terminal improvement project that’s been in the works for more than two years.

Designed by area architect Fred Sweeney, the terminal features a post-modern take on the stucco-and-red-tile motif that has come to signify Santa Barbara style. The airport features new amenities such as departure lounges equipped with lavatories, streamlined check-in counters and jetways to speed loading and unloading of passengers.

Despite handling around a million comings and goings a year, the old terminal had no bathrooms after the security checkpoint, and passengers were required to walk in the open to their aircraft during inclement weather.

The improvements also feature a new short-term parking lot and will include refurbishment of the existing 1942 terminal.  The new terminal expects to achieve LEED gold certification once all of the improvements are done.

Santa Barbara Airport officials said that with the opening of the new terminal, the rest of the improvement projects will begin with final completion expected next spring. As part of the final phase, the airport will restore a full complement of long-term parking places, reducing the use of the overflow parking lot on Hollister Avenue.