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Local Spotlight: The Santa Barbara Airport

June 3, 2021

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CONVENIENCE, CHOICE AND A CORNUCOPIA OF CONNECTIONS 

Front of the Santa Barbara Airport

Image Courtesy of Santa Barbara Airport

As the 13th largest airport in California, Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) typically serves more than a million passengers every year. Known as the gateway to the American Rivera, SBA currently offers nonstop flights to Dallas-Ft. Worth, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Phoenix, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle. Newest flight offerings are United to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, and Alaska Airlines nonstop flights to San Diego.

Airport of Choice

The airport’s mission for the future is to remain the Tri-County region’s “Airport of Choice.” Toward that goal, SBA now includes a 60,000 square foot terminal added to the original 7,000 square foot historic one.

READ: Santa Barbara Day Trips: Convenient, Safe and Sanity Savers

There’s a short-term parking lot, a terminal loop road with a dedicated lane for public transit, shuttles, and taxis, a longer front curb for private vehicle loading and unloading, and relocation and rehabilitation of the historic space.

Sustainable design was one of the top priorities for the Airline Terminal Project. Toward that goal, the terminal is registered with the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the nationally recognized benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

SBA’s Rich History

In the years 1927-28, Charles Lindbergh, arguably the most famous aviator in history, visited friends in Santa Barbara, landing at the Chadbourne-Donze airfield in Carpinteria, located at the present-day intersection of Carpinteria Avenue and Dump Road. The original hanger still stands today. Lindbergh also utilized Earle Ovington’s airfield, Casa Loma, located where the Santa Barbara Golf Club is now, off Las Positas Road. On one visit, Lindbergh eschewed both the Carpinteria and Santa Barbara fields and simply used the grounds of Cima del Mundo, an 80-plus-acre Montecito estate, as a landing strip.

SBA is rich in history, dating back to 1914 when Lincoln Beachey flew an airplane across Goleta Valley. Two years later the Loughead brothers (later known as the Lockheed brothers), established a seaplane factory on State Street and constructed a wooden ramp on West Beach to launch their planes.

In 1928, Gordon Sackett and Royce Stetson landed a Hisso-powered airplane in a cow pasture near the corner of Hollister and Fairview Avenues and set up a flight school on the spot. That first airstrip marked the beginning of what was to become the Santa Barbara Airport.

As airplane manufacturing grew in the late 1930s, that simple airstrip developed into an airfield. Western General set up shop and began producing Meteor airplanes, while Santa Barbara Airways’ founder Frederick Stearns II built two additional runways and two large hangars. Stearns also installed the first radio equipment at the airfield.

Commercial service began in 1932 with Pacific Seaboard Airlines, and United Airlines inaugurated service from Santa Barbara/Goleta in 1936.

READ: Hug a Santa Barbara Tree Today

In 1941, groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the Santa Barbara Airport. William Edwards and Joseph Plunkett, an architectural team whose work includes the Arlington Theatre and the National Armory, designed the Spanish-style terminal building. They helped shape the Mediterranean style of our city.

Local airports serviced by private jets

Those who live here have more options when it comes to flying. In fact, there are seven individual airports located within a convenient 50-mile radius of Santa Barbara. The closest and most obvious choice SBA, located at 500 James Fowler Road, is just eight miles away from the downtown area of the city. Another convenient option, the Shepherd Ranch Airport (0CA4) is just 25 miles away.

Private jet companies in Santa Barbara

There are many companies in Santa Barbara that offer private jet service, but if you’re looking for the ultimate experience in air travel to or from Santa Barbara, you might want to try Paramount Business Jets (PBJ). The company seems to have countless business jets and helicopters available, as well as a healthy selection of airports to fly into and out of.

I appreciate the fact that there are no hidden or membership fees, and no upfront investment when you charter a plane with PBJ. They can also help those looking to purchase their own aircraft. I’ve included their website above, or you can call them at +1- 877-727-253


With our perfect Mediterranean weather, our beautiful beaches, amazing architecture and healthy lifestyle, it’s no wonder more people want to fly in and out of the Santa Barbara Airport. If you decide to take this trend one step further and move here, please take a look at my current listingsI’m sure you’ll see something you like and will be happy to arrange a private tour. Selling your home? Call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at Cristal@montecito-estate.com to discuss your situation and we can come up with a winning strategy. Be sure to check out my website and follow me on Facebook.





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- M.F.

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- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch