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LAXintl
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Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:05 pm

.
Another one of these national stories about a community left with costly airport facility in face of declining traffic.

Santa Barbara in 2011 opened a new $53 million dollar 60,000sq ft terminal and related improvement projects, but for 5-years running traffic has continued to decline which has pushed the airport in the red.

With a 26% decline in passenger enplanements (similar fate to many smaller US markets) the city has been left trying to close yearly budget gap as the airport revenue no longer makes it self-sufficient financially.

While overall tourism to the Santa Barbara region has increased, the regions air travel has continued to leak primarily to Los Angeles.

Local tourism official say they are trying hard to market to locals and airlines alike, and have had some successes such as recently reestablished air link to Dallas, but they have suffered far longer string of losses as daily airline departure counts have dropped to mere 21 flights.


Image
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http://www.independent.com/news/2016/oc ... a-airport/

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Its somewhat akin to a death spiral. As traffic declines, airlines pull flights, which only further reduces air travelers as people opt to drive to L.A.
As story mentions is estimated that half of locals don't even bother with their own airport and simply opt to drive down to L.A. to catch nonstop flights to their destinations.
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commavia
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:26 pm

Three thoughts after reading that article:

* The airport director claims that when the rosy, straight-line predictions of traffic growth never materialized and traffic peaked in 2005, "no one saw it coming" - that's obviously exactly what you'd expect her to say, but of course that's false, as there were plenty of people paying attention to the industry that saw well before 2009 that the economics of small jets on short flights was rapidly deteriorating and would dramatically undermine the economics of flights to lots of small markets

* It seems that without a hint of irony, both the airport management and the reporter speak about efforts to "increase competition" and "drive down prices," without seeming to acknowledge that this is precisely what is going to further undermine the economics of SBA's remaining flights; small jets have higher unit costs than both turboprops and large jets, and thus need higher, not lower, fares to work

* I think it's only a matter of time for United's SBA-LAX flights - United has no doubt benefited from AA exiting the market, but even with that, I personally still doubt that they're going to be around much longer given the economics of operating 50-seat CRJs on a 90-mile segment; I suspect United will ultimately conclude that it's better of consolidating SBA with just DEN and SFO which, in combination, offer pretty much all the same connections as LAX
Last edited by commavia on Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:27 pm

I cannot imagine why someone would want to drive to LAX for a nonstop flight deal with all that traffic, parking, and worst of all TSA lines at LAX. The problem though is the air service, if you have to connect LAX for a transcon flight though, it is a waste, because you haven't gotten very far. Connecting somewhere like DFW though makes sense. Take SNA for example, it is only half the distance to LAX as SBA is, and has a ton of flight options, so unless you are flying overseas or intra-WC to somewhere SNA lacks nonstop service, you would not need to connect at LAX but somewhere further out where your first flight makes progress. I always prefer departing from SNA, TSA is a breeze (except early morning), and especially the priority lane. The parking deck is connected right to the terminal on the end without even having to cross the departures/arrivals lanes. I have sometimes though departed from SNA, yet returned to LAX. Landing at LAX is easy, but not worth it if you have to do it roundtrip.
 
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:30 pm

So SBA origin traffic leaks to LA, but it's too far to be a viable alternate for LA destination traffic? That's not a winning formula. I wonder how far their average tourist travels to get to Santa Barbara... I suspect it's mostly within a couple hundred miles.
 
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:07 pm

I am looking to fly there, but the cost of the ticket is typically quite a bit higher than to LAX. Factor in that I'd have to rent a car at either one, it's hard to justify flying into SBA as opposed to LAX and then drive the 100 miles.

If the tickets were only $30-40 more than to LAX, I'd probably choose SBA, but often times, on the dates I'm looking to go, they are substantially more than that.
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Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:19 pm

Maybe they need to work on getting DL to SLC or Allegiant.
Allegiant specifically could even make it oneof their destination spots
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:19 pm

Its interesting to note that one of the gambles SBA took was when they approved and started work on the new terminal in 2009 was to use to economic downturn at the time to borrow cheaply and get bids for the project that came in below original estimates with belief that the downturn was temporary and that they were being smart and fiscally prudent by moving ahead.
Obviously, its clear now, airport traffic levels never returned even as SBA regions tourism rebounded.

Its also interesting that every secondary airport in the LA region has experienced near permanent traffic declines, with only SNA fully recovering. BUR, ONT, LGB still remain down from historic highs, while airport like OXR has seen total elimination of commercial services.

During this period though, the regions total traffic has continued to grow as all roads seemingly head to LAX as the airport sets new enplanement. This can be seen in the demographics of travellers, with only 65% of local LAX enplanements being Los Angeles County residents. People drive in from places like San Diego in the south to places like Bakersfield and San Luis Obispo in the north to access the airport.
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:28 pm

Its seems the problem with airports like SBA that are in shadow of much bigger neighbours is the inconvenience of having to connect.

Unless you need to go to one of the few cities that the airport has nonstop service to, its silly to fly and connect when you can access airport like LAX and go nonstop virtually anywhere.

Over years I had two conferences in SBA and never considered flying to SBA as it would require a connection. Its simply easier to fly to LAX and in my case took the big convenient bus. Both cheaper and faster than stopping to make connection.
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:34 pm

commavia wrote:
Three thoughts after reading that article:

* The airport director claims that when the rosy, straight-line predictions of traffic growth never materialized and traffic peaked in 2005, "no one saw it coming" - that's obviously exactly what you'd expect her to say, but of course that's false, as there were plenty of people paying attention to the industry that saw well before 2009 that the economics of small jets on short flights was rapidly deteriorating and would dramatically undermine the economics of flights to lots of small markets


Back in 2005, service into SBA was largely turboprops with Horizon, AA to LAX, and UA to LAX and SFO.

DL had a daily CRJ to SLC, and US had some service to PHX which I expect was CRJ but don't know for sure.

Since that time, the turboprops have been slowly withdrawn from service. AA was first when they dropped the Saabs.

SBA should get a minor boost from UA dropping SMX.

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Re:

Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:41 pm

ahj2000 wrote:
Maybe they need to work on getting DL to SLC or Allegiant.
Allegiant specifically could even make it oneof their destination spots


Allegiant uses Santa Maria airport further north. They say they capture more traffic from the central coast as its located about halfway between SBA and SBP.

On SLC link, that has been tried several times. Delta(Skywest) last dropped it in 2010 claiming low ridership. Even larger DEN market only manages 2 RJs (50+70 seater) currently.
Though not sure DL really looking to grown into secondary California markets as many others like (SBP, MRY, etc) have been trimmed over the years.
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commavia
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:49 pm

LAXintl wrote:
Its also interesting that every secondary airport in the LA region has experienced near permanent traffic declines, with only SNA fully recovering. BUR, ONT, LGB still remain down from historic highs, while airport like OXR has seen total elimination of commercial services.

During this period though, the regions total traffic has continued to grow as all roads seemingly head to LAX as the airport sets new enplanement. This can be seen in the demographics of travellers, with only 65% of local LAX enplanements being Los Angeles County residents. People drive in from places like San Diego in the south to places like Bakersfield and San Luis Obispo in the north to access the airport.


Absolutely. Air service in the Los Angeles basin continues to get increasingly concentrated at LAX despite all the horrors that many ascribe to the airport. The inescapable reality is that LAX is where passengers choose to fly. These days, virtually every other airport in Southern California has substantial excess capacity and airlines could add flights to those airports tomorrow if they wanted to, and yet virtually all seem to have concluded that it would be less financially rewarding than just adding additional incremental capacity at LAX. In some ways it seems somewhat reminiscent of what's happened in the air market surrounding Boston in the last decade - surrounding airports like MHT and PVD that were once billed as alternatives to BOS have seen their traffic permanently, structurally decline as more and more air service is concentrated at the region's primary air hub.

diverdave wrote:
Back in 2005, service into SBA was largely turboprops with Horizon, AA to LAX, and UA to LAX and SFO.

DL had a daily CRJ to SLC, and US had some service to PHX which I expect was CRJ but don't know for sure.

Since that time, the turboprops have been slowly withdrawn from service. AA was first when they dropped the Saabs.


Indeed, although to add to the earlier point - that trend, too, should have been quite obvious to everyone in 2005, let alone 2009 when terminal construction began. The move away from turboprops to 50-seat RJs, and then from 50-seat RJs to larger RJs, was quite obvious seven years ago.

diverdave wrote:
SBA should get a minor boost from UA dropping SMX.


Perhaps, although I still personally doubt it will make a difference in the long run. I don't think either of those sectors is sustainable with a 50-seat RJ at that stage length.
 
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:57 pm

afcjets wrote:
I cannot imagine why someone would want to drive to LAX for a nonstop flight deal with all that traffic, parking, and worst of all TSA lines at LAX.


There are any number of valid reasons why one would be willing to drive to LAX from Santa Barbara. Flights from LAX tend to be quite a bit cheaper (i.e. SBA-BOS tends to average about $100 more each way than LAX-BOS) and if you're traveling with a family, that adds up very quickly. There are additional savings when traveling to the area given that rental cars tend to be cheaper at LAX. LAX offers non-stop flights to most places people want to go; from SBA there's a choice of seven non-stop markets and one (LAX) is virtually entirely connecting traffic. Plus the ability to go non-stop helps to make up for the extra time driving to LAX given that you're not sitting around in some hub airport for an hour or two waiting for a connection, not to mention not having to worry about missing a connection due to a delayed flight and dealing with regional carriers which are often less reliable than mainline (and SBA currently has no mainline service). Furthermore, the schedules from LAX are vastly superior -- you're not scheduling yourself around service which to most hubs is once or twice daily.

303dk wrote:
So SBA origin traffic leaks to LA, but it's too far to be a viable alternate for LA destination traffic?


Even if SBA were closer to L.A., I doubt the community would have much interest in the airport serving as an alternate. The focus in the article was far more about getting locals and visitors to the area to use SBA instead of LAX.

commavia wrote:
* I think it's only a matter of time for United's SBA-LAX flights - United has no doubt benefited from AA exiting the market, but even with that, I personally still doubt that they're going to be around much longer given the economics of operating 50-seat CRJs on a 90-mile segment; I suspect United will ultimately conclude that it's better of consolidating SBA with just DEN and SFO which, in combination, offer pretty much all the same connections as LAX


I agree, but I think the relative scarcity of qualified pilots willing to fly for regional airline wages also plays a part here; as the airlines continue to retire 50-seaters due in part to the lack of bodies needed up-front, extremely short connecting markets like SBA-LAX will disappear unless yields are extraordinarily high on the connecting fares.
 
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:12 pm

mercure1 wrote:
Its seems the problem with airports like SBA that are in shadow of much bigger neighbours is the inconvenience of having to connect.

Unless you need to go to one of the few cities that the airport has nonstop service to, its silly to fly and connect when you can access airport like LAX and go nonstop virtually anywhere.

Over years I had two conferences in SBA and never considered flying to SBA as it would require a connection. Its simply easier to fly to LAX and in my case took the big convenient bus. Both cheaper and faster than stopping to make connection.


In addition to the reasons you and others give, the outlying airports in general just aren't as reliable. If the a/c goes tech there isn't another a/c to replace it, and probably no staff capable of servicing it, nor spare parts available, at SBA.

commavia wrote:
In some ways it seems somewhat reminiscent of what's happened in the air market surrounding Boston in the last decade - surrounding airports like MHT and PVD that were once billed as alternatives to BOS have seen their traffic permanently, structurally decline as more and more air service is concentrated at the region's primary air hub.


A factor in BOS was that the great financial crisis of 2008 caused many tenants to leave or downsize just as DL's terminal rebuild was coming online and the airport operator had no choice but revisit fees to keep/attract business. The great wave of resulting consolidations also freed up space. I'm not sure if the same thing happened in LA.
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:26 pm

afcjets wrote:
I cannot imagine why someone would want to drive to LAX for a nonstop flight deal with all that traffic, parking, and worst of all TSA lines at LAX. The problem though is the air service, if you have to connect LAX for a transcon flight though, it is a waste, because you haven't gotten very far. Connecting somewhere like DFW though makes sense. Take SNA for example, it is only half the distance to LAX as SBA is, and has a ton of flight options, so unless you are flying overseas or intra-WC to somewhere SNA lacks nonstop service, you would not need to connect at LAX but somewhere further out where your first flight makes progress. I always prefer departing from SNA, TSA is a breeze (except early morning), and especially the priority lane. The parking deck is connected right to the terminal on the end without even having to cross the departures/arrivals lanes. I have sometimes though departed from SNA, yet returned to LAX. Landing at LAX is easy, but not worth it if you have to do it roundtrip.

Check out flights to Orlando. $250 nonstop from LAX, or $550 1 stop from SBA. For a family of 4, that is quite the significant saving.
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:28 pm

Like a lot of small airports the price of flying out is expensive compared to flying from the mega hubs. Many people cheat the system as read in the comment section at the link.
Why endure the nightmare and congestion of LAX when BUR, LGB, ONT & SNA is so much easier to fly in and out of. Same with OAK & SJC when it comes to SFO.
 
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:38 pm

*I definitely see SBA-LAX dropping off in the not so distant future; however these are OO at risk flights so maybe they'll last a little longer than expected. There are some serious gate issues in LAX though and the the options through LAX from those flights are getting more and more limited.

*Traffic has finally increased YOY for a few months now that the effects of F9 and the AA LAX flights have long passed. All 3 airlines are up YOY. AS just switched to E175s and AA added their DFW flight, although that flight on a CR9 is not ideal...looks like they are also upgauging some of their other PHX flights. UA has also been experimenting with a 3rd daily DEN flight for the past couple months for the first time. Although UA went from ~20 departure a day to ~13, seats are about the same, if not up a tad due to upgauging from 30 seat EMB120s to 50/70/76 seat CRJ/ERJ's.

*G4 moving to SMX is definitely more centrally located but also SMX offers much more favorable terms/fees for airlines as they don't have a debt load to pay off. SBA's airline fees were at one point were one of the highest in the US. I doubt UA dropping SMX will result in much of a bump as that was only 100 seats a day that were not even filled. I believe UA has over 700 seats a day for SBA.

*Although not confirmed from the airline itself, the airport has leaked in a press release that UA is planning mainline service in the near future. Whether it be upgauging an existing route or an additional city (ORD comes to mind) is not known...the airport is pushing for an ORD route.

*I think a DL connection to SLC is badly needed. The only thing I see being a problem is that with the new terminal, they are actually a little tight on gate space. It's not a rare sight to see all the jetbridges and hardstands being used.

*I think the airport really needs to work on some more airline incentives. The problem is that they are so financially strapped it's hard. They also have a hard time getting grants as they aren't in that bad of shape for air service to make a case against others. The local hotels have no motivation to chip in because they already are very busy year round.
 
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:50 pm

LAXintl wrote:
Its interesting to note that one of the gambles SBA took was when they approved and started work on the new terminal in 2009 was to use to economic downturn at the time to borrow cheaply and get bids for the project that came in below original estimates with belief that the downturn was temporary and that they were being smart and fiscally prudent by moving ahead.
Obviously, its clear now, airport traffic levels never returned even as SBA regions tourism rebounded.

Its also interesting that every secondary airport in the LA region has experienced near permanent traffic declines, with only SNA fully recovering. BUR, ONT, LGB still remain down from historic highs, while airport like OXR has seen total elimination of commercial services.

During this period though, the regions total traffic has continued to grow as all roads seemingly head to LAX as the airport sets new enplanement. This can be seen in the demographics of travellers, with only 65% of local LAX enplanements being Los Angeles County residents. People drive in from places like San Diego in the south to places like Bakersfield and San Luis Obispo in the north to access the airport.


Same in the Bay Area, with SFO setting records year after year while OAK and SJC are still below their historic peaks (10.9 mil in 2002 for SJC, 14.6 mil in 2007 for OAK).

Edit to note SFO has been helped by drought years and fewer bad weather days. If we have a few normal to wet winters in a row, it's going to be much more expensive for carriers that have significant operations there, compared to OAK and SJC where there are rarely ever delays. SFO also had a decade+ of BART service before OAK got the BART connection, so that advantage is mostly eliminated now (still a connection vs. one seat ride, but a significantly closer experience than it was with the bus).
Last edited by ucdtim17 on Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:51 pm

One other issue that does not seem to be in the discussion at the moment is that the previous terminal had to be replaced. Even for a small, regional airport, it was completely outdated. Quaint, yes, but deficient in modern terms. Checking in in one part of the building, going back outside then to another part of the building for your gate; cramped TSA; no food or restrooms beyond TSA, etc. I suppose a more realistic assessment of future operations could have led to a scaled down version of the new terminal at lower cost.

As for me, the extra cost of a ticket out of SBA is worth it to me. Driving from my home in Santa Barbara to LAX can easily become a two hour drive in the best of conditions. Throwing a little traffic and it's worse. Getting through security is a breeze. I understand other people's preference for nonstop flights – I would take one too if it was available – but I will take the ease of SBA and a connecting flight rather than the hassle of driving to Los Angeles. Everyone has their preferences; that is mine.
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:59 pm

It's fascinating to observe polar opposite dynamics in Nor-Cal vs. SoCal - down south it's more and more LAX, even affecting airports as far as SBA as mentioned above, but up north in the Bay Area, it's increasingly decentralized where airlines start embracing both SJC and OAK instead of leaving it to just WN+AS. Traffic stats from SMF also indicate that the airport is holding its own ground instead of being increasingly cannibalized by OAK.
 
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 6:10 pm

mercure1 wrote:
Its seems the problem with airports like SBA that are in shadow of much bigger neighbours is the inconvenience of having to connect.

Unless you need to go to one of the few cities that the airport has nonstop service to, its silly to fly and connect when you can access airport like LAX and go nonstop virtually anywhere.

Over years I had two conferences in SBA and never considered flying to SBA as it would require a connection. Its simply easier to fly to LAX and in my case took the big convenient bus. Both cheaper and faster than stopping to make connection.

It CAN be more convenient, however to take advantage of easier airport access/cheaper parking/shorter lines/easier boarding process at the smaller airport, connect and then fly to one's final destination unless it's absolutely time-critical.
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 6:11 pm

SBA Airbus to LAX seems popular enough to stick around, similar to what LAWA is doing with FlyAway. SBA had a fighting chance with Turboprops, e.g. EMB-120s, and those are gone now. These days an airport like SBA needs to either draw a CR7 or die a long painful death. CR2s barely make sense on something like FAT - SFO / LAX, the shorter the route the worse the economics of a CR2, the now smallest jet for most regionals. MW also flies to SMX btw, not just G4. Connections at LAX / SFO aside, flying straight from LAX also opens up additional carriers, which reduces cost by at least $100-200 per domestic round trip.
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 6:52 pm

So just out of curiosity, do you think there would be enough O/D traffic on a route like SAN to SBA with AS Q400? I keep wishing for SAN SBP, as there is no option to the central coast except to layover in PHX. But no luck... any thoughts?
 
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 6:57 pm

DLSANMan wrote:
So just out of curiosity, do you think there would be enough O/D traffic on a route like SAN to SBA with AS Q400? I keep wishing for SAN SBP, as there is no option to the central coast except to layover in PHX. But no luck... any thoughts?

Or SMF?
 
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:00 pm

I feel really sorry for Santa Barbara, their difficult climate, their grinding poverty... how will they manage? LOL
 
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:17 pm

DLSANMan wrote:
So just out of curiosity, do you think there would be enough O/D traffic on a route like SAN to SBA with AS Q400? I keep wishing for SAN SBP, as there is no option to the central coast except to layover in PHX. But no luck... any thoughts?

32andBelow wrote:
Or SMF?


Less than ten people currently fly SBA-XXX-SMF and SBA-XXX-SAN each way daily but I think SAN could work. SMF used to work on the CRJ-700 on QX as a tag-on from PDX.
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:35 pm

alasizon wrote:
DLSANMan wrote:
So just out of curiosity, do you think there would be enough O/D traffic on a route like SAN to SBA with AS Q400? I keep wishing for SAN SBP, as there is no option to the central coast except to layover in PHX. But no luck... any thoughts?

32andBelow wrote:
Or SMF?


Less than ten people currently fly SBA-XXX-SMF and SBA-XXX-SAN each way daily but I think SAN could work. SMF used to work on the CRJ-700 on QX as a tag-on from PDX.



I used to fly SMF - SBA on XJet E135 and on QX CRJ7. Now i fly SAN-MRY every other week and it would be nice to get SBA or SBP so i could get to SXM haha..
 
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:36 pm

DLSANMan wrote:
So just out of curiosity, do you think there would be enough O/D traffic on a route like SAN to SBA with AS Q400? I keep wishing for SAN SBP, as there is no option to the central coast except to layover in PHX. But no luck... any thoughts?


Remember you have frequent downtown to downtown Amtrak service SAN-SBA, with one or two continuing to SBP.
 
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:39 pm

commavia wrote:
These days, virtually every other airport in Southern California has substantial excess capacity and airlines could add flights to those airports tomorrow if they wanted to



Tell that to WN who just lost a million seats at SNA. :-)
 
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:41 pm

Flighty wrote:
I feel really sorry for Santa Barbara, their difficult climate, their grinding poverty... how will they manage? LOL


Yeah, what a hell hole SBA is. Ugly place with sucky weather and uncontrolled growth. High crime rate and horribly low average incomes.

SBA does have DEN and DFW flights. I'm surprised now SLC on DL though. Where else could SBA potentially serve? I don't think it's large enough to support MSP or ATL (with a 737-700 due to 6000 foot runway length).
 
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:10 pm

That will be interesting to see if UA ever axes SBA-LAX, wonder how quickly Mokulele will spool up to tackle that route too...
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:27 pm

a380787 wrote:
It's fascinating to observe polar opposite dynamics in Nor-Cal vs. SoCal - down south it's more and more LAX, even affecting airports as far as SBA as mentioned above, but up north in the Bay Area, it's increasingly decentralized where airlines start embracing both SJC and OAK instead of leaving it to just WN+AS. Traffic stats from SMF also indicate that the airport is holding its own ground instead of being increasingly cannibalized by OAK.


I would equate SBA more to MRY than SJC and OAK. MRY is an affluent resort area much like SBA, driving distance from MRY to SJC is similar to SBA - LAX. MRY in the 70s and 80s saw mainline UA, AirCal, PSA and Hughes Airwest services. UA served SFO, LAX, ORD and I believe DEN with 727's and 737's, PSA brought in 727s and AirCal 737s. Today MRY is a mere shadow of it's former self ( with the only mainline flight being and 1X/week G4 service to LAS ), due to many of the same factors that caused the decline of SBA.
 
syvjeff
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:52 pm

I live in Santa Barbara County, 30 minutes North of SBA and 30 Minutes South of SBA. Just about a year and half ago made a career change which requires me to take two trips a month to anywhere in the US and once a year to Europe. Being this is my own business and trying to keep expenses in check, I've been driving to LAX due to fares usually $200-$300 less than flying out of SBA/SMX/SBP. What that means is on leaving I usually wake up very early on Monday, drive to Lot C at LAX, fly out to many US locations (I'm writing this from Cincinnati today) and fly home on Fridays.

I've recently come to a stark conclusion. Flying out of LAX is easy when you catch the morning flights. It's the coming home, afternoon/evening traffic that is killing me. All the other travel, meetings, hotels part of the job is OK - but the drive home is taking it all out of me. My wife and I have pondered this and I've come to the conclusion after some studying my time and expenses that if I cut one day a week out of a typical trip saving on hotels/meals/cabs/Uber/etc, I could now afford to fly out of SBA or SBP. We agreed to start that next year.

As a regular traveler, I've been a Delta flyer (Gold Status and trust me I'd love it if I could connect with DL to SLC out of SBA) with Southwest and United as my back ups. I flew United out of SMX twice just due to a fare sale and convenience (free parking). Because United flies to Denver I'm interested in using them more (maybe even take on a status transfer). However I truly fear the low number of flights will slow me down in getting me to where I need to go if there's a mechanical, labor issue or weather. A friend of mine flies to ORD out of SBA on United and she said it was a crap shoot for on time performance.

On the trip I'm currently on, I did use Mokulele from SMX at $135 round trip. I padded in a couple hours in case there was a mechanical or weather and flew to LAX to catch a Delta flight. It worked out well. Same price as SB Airbus shuttle service and the Cessna Caravan was comfortable for me. I'm looking forward in seeing if this will still work out on my return home. My only concern of using Mokulele to LAX is that if they run late and I miss my other airline flight, I'm out of luck.

FYI - In the 90s when I was working on my private pilots license, AA briefly flew 1 MD 80 to ORD and 1 MD 80 to DFW a day out of SBA.
 
timpdx
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 9:25 pm

And somehow PSP makes it work with arguably similar market dynamics - resort and leisure destination, smallish local population (Coachella Valley and Santa Barbara county both around 350-400K) Neither has a large corporate base, roughly same driving distance to LA Basin, both serve as the closest civilian airport to somewhat close military bases (Vandenberg & Twentynine Palms).

PSP enjoys good mainline and commuter connections (with seasonal variation, but still a much higher service level) and SBA withers.
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BoeingGuy
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 9:35 pm

ACCS300 wrote:
a380787 wrote:
MRY in the 70s and 80s saw mainline UA, AirCal, PSA and Hughes Airwest services. UA served SFO, LAX, ORD and I believe DEN with 727's and 737's, PSA brought in 727s and AirCal 737s. Today MRY is a mere shadow of it's former self ( with the only mainline flight being and 1X/week G4 service to LAS ), due to many of the same factors that caused the decline of SBA.


I think MRY-DEN and MRY-ORD was short lived though. I remember when UA tried that. They also added FAT-ORD, in addition to their long time FAT-DEN. and I think even tried SBA-ORD and SBA-DEN.
 
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thekorean
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 9:50 pm

The terminal looks a lot like LA Union Station. Cool design.

Maybe these people should have done better market research before spending that much money.
 
32andBelow
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 9:53 pm

timpdx wrote:
And somehow PSP makes it work with arguably similar market dynamics - resort and leisure destination, smallish local population (Coachella Valley and Santa Barbara county both around 350-400K) Neither has a large corporate base, roughly same driving distance to LA Basin, both serve as the closest civilian airport to somewhat close military bases (Vandenberg & Twentynine Palms).

PSP enjoys good mainline and commuter connections (with seasonal variation, but still a much higher service level) and SBA withers.

PSP has a giant draw for people from the Northern US and Canada for winter homes.
 
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diverdave
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 9:53 pm

thekorean wrote:
The terminal looks a lot like LA Union Station. Cool design.

Maybe these people should have done better market research before spending that much money.


The old terminal was functionally inadequate. The baggage claim was a tent. The gate areas were too small and had no passenger facilities.

Also, the old terminal was in a flood plain.

Something had to be done. I'm sure they would do something smaller and cheaper if they could do it again.

David
 
PlanesNTrains
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Oct 25, 2016 11:43 pm

timpdx wrote:
And somehow PSP makes it work with arguably similar market dynamics - resort and leisure destination, smallish local population (Coachella Valley and Santa Barbara county both around 350-400K) Neither has a large corporate base, roughly same driving distance to LA Basin, both serve as the closest civilian airport to somewhat close military bases (Vandenberg & Twentynine Palms).

PSP enjoys good mainline and commuter connections (with seasonal variation, but still a much higher service level) and SBA withers.


Well, I know numerous - countless - people that have been to Palm Springs, many regularly. I can count on one hand with 3-4 fingers left over the number of people I know that have discussed going to Santa Barbara, and one of those is a cousin in the medical field who moved there from Fresno. I think the weather plays a huge role in that. As far as flying in goes, I have been to Palm Springs several times and NEVER flown into PSP. I've always flown into ONT and drove. East of Yucaipa it's really not a bad drive. :-)
-Dave


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BestWestern
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Wed Oct 26, 2016 12:44 am

Isn't it a nice change that a US airport has a modern terminal and operating under capacity?
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iahcsr
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:01 am

On a somewhat different scale, ONT has much the same problem. Old terminal was pathetically obsolete. New larger terminals were built in anticipation of major passenger increases which never materialized.
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PlanesNTrains
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:03 am

BestWestern wrote:
Isn't it a nice change that a US airport has a modern terminal and operating under capacity?


I know, right? lol Good thing we know how to build a runway.
-Dave


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WA707atMSP
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:12 am

PlanesNTrains wrote:
timpdx wrote:
And somehow PSP makes it work with arguably similar market dynamics - resort and leisure destination, smallish local population (Coachella Valley and Santa Barbara county both around 350-400K) Neither has a large corporate base, roughly same driving distance to LA Basin, both serve as the closest civilian airport to somewhat close military bases (Vandenberg & Twentynine Palms).

PSP enjoys good mainline and commuter connections (with seasonal variation, but still a much higher service level) and SBA withers.


Well, I know numerous - countless - people that have been to Palm Springs, many regularly. I can count on one hand with 3-4 fingers left over the number of people I know that have discussed going to Santa Barbara, and one of those is a cousin in the medical field who moved there from Fresno. I think the weather plays a huge role in that. As far as flying in goes, I have been to Palm Springs several times and NEVER flown into PSP. I've always flown into ONT and drove. East of Yucaipa it's really not a bad drive. :-)


Yes, but west of Yucaipa, the drive is absolute hell!

I've been flying in and out of PSP since the early 1970s to visit relatives (the first flight I can remember is on an AA DC-10, PSP-PHX-ORD-DTW in 1974 when I was six years old), and I've found that ONT is the only viable alternative to PSP because of geography.

Although PSP is only 21 air miles further from LAX than SBA is, the drive is far worse because you have to drive through much more of the Los Angeles basin going from PSP to LAX than you do when you drive from SBA to LAX. If there's a bad accident on I-10, you miss your flight. At one time, my family used SNA as an alternative to PSP, until the traffic between Orange County and the Inland Empire became almost as bad as the traffic on I-10 between LAX and Yucaipa. SAN, however, is a good "last resort" alternative to PSP, because until you get to about Rancho Bernardo, the traffic is relatively light; the early part of the drive from PSP to SAN through Santa Rosa Mountains National Monument is very pretty.

I think the decline in the number of flights out of ONT has actually helped PSP, because having fewer options out of ONT makes people less willing to make the drive through Beaumont Pass from PSP.
 
FX1816
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:48 am

iahcsr wrote:
On a somewhat different scale, ONT has much the same problem. Old terminal was pathetically obsolete. New larger terminals were built in anticipation of major passenger increases which never materialized.


Not exactly the same thing, the passenger count was steadily increasing at ONT from 1998, the opening of the new terminals, to 2007. The recession hit in 2008 and the Inland Empire has had a sluggish recovery. Things aren't all bad though, our Air Traffic count is steadily increasing because of mostly cargo operations, thank you Amazon!
 
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mercure1
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Sun Oct 30, 2016 6:05 pm

Quick question.
I was under impression US airports were required to be financially self suffient and aeronautical charges and things like rents had to cover the operating cost.
What happens if airport loses so much activity it cannot cover its expenses even as it tries to raise charges(which itself leads to more activity leaving). Who funds the airport then?
mercure f-wtcc
 
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AirlineCritic
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:20 pm

LAXintl wrote:
.

Image


What a beautiful airport! (Like the rest of the city, of course.)

Wish it will see more use.
 
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lightsaber
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:59 pm

I feel for any city with excess airport capacity and as previously noted the climate and income Santa Barbara struggles with.

In all seriousness, they would do well with an ULCC, but I really doubt that airport is going to try to attract one.

The issue is the 6,000 ft runway. With today's aircraft, that is a challenge for the flights to the larger US hubs: ORD, DFW, DTW, and ATL. Ironically, the CS100 might be the savior. You need a low CASM plane with excellent short field performance for Santa Barbara. I wonder...

Lightsaber
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lindy field
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:10 pm

MRY makes an interesting point of comparison to SBA, but what about STS? Sonoma County's scheduled air service has grown steadily over the last decade, with increasing daily service by Horizon/Alaska, and then more recently Allegiant, and American Eagle is starting a daily flight to PHX in a few months. Sonoma County traffic can easily bleed away to SFO or OAK, but why is service being added at STS, while it's being dropped at SBA?
 
PlanesNTrains
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:22 pm

lindy field wrote:
MRY makes an interesting point of comparison to SBA, but what about STS? Sonoma County's scheduled air service has grown steadily over the last decade, with increasing daily service by Horizon/Alaska, and then more recently Allegiant, and American Eagle is starting a daily flight to PHX in a few months. Sonoma County traffic can easily bleed away to SFO or OAK, but why is service being added at STS, while it's being dropped at SBA?


Well, to me, the drive from LAX to Santa Barbara would not be as bad as a drive from SFO to Santa Rosa. With Santa Barbara you also have the rail option. Not sure if those are valid points in the big picture, but they seem a bit different than one another to me.
-Dave


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slcdeltarumd11
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:12 pm

The lesson here is they spent too much on the terminal easy to be a Monday morning quarterback but at this point I think they have to increase competition to bring fares down.

They have to minimum be able to offer Incentives to get southwest/Delta back for SLC. They need another carrier and large connection city.

Allegiant is a great idea but I think they are too concentrated on lax. Frontier I think Is the LCCo would go after. They might be willing to try less then daily to LAS,PHX somewhere else even

They ain't gonna get anyone back without an incentive. They have to spend a little more to lose less. The fares are just too high to ever work out , they have to bring them down with more competition to get more airport fees spread over more people. I can totally see why a city council person would think spending more makes no sense but they have too i think. They are in a too high fare spiral , they have to bring fares down. That will only happen by more carriers.
 
alasizon
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:17 pm

slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
The lesson here is they spent too much on the terminal easy to be a Monday morning quarterback but at this point I think they have to increase competition to bring fares down.

They have to minimum be able to offer Incentives to get southwest/Delta back for SLC. They need another carrier and large connection city.

Allegiant is a great idea but I think they are too concentrated on lax. Frontier I think Is the LCCo would go after. They might be willing to try less then daily to LAS,PHX somewhere else even


F9 used to serve SBA but I think that it ended before the transition to the ULCC model
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