Santa Maria Public Airport
|Santa Maria Public Airport
Capt. G. Allan Hancock Field
Santa Maria Army Airfield
2006 USGS Photo
|IATA: SMX – ICAO: KSMX – FAA LID: SMX|
|Owner||Santa Maria Public Airport District|
|Serves||Santa Maria, California|
|Elevation AMSL||261 ft / 80 m|
Santa Maria Public Airport (Capt. G. Allan Hancock Field) (IATA: SMX, ICAO: KSMX, FAA LID: SMX) is three miles (5 km) south of Santa Maria, in northern Santa Barbara County, California. The main hub destination for Santa Maria is Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
The airport was built by the United States Army during World War II, known as Santa Maria Army Air Field. Its primary mission was to provide training for B-25 bomber pilots, however flight training was abandoned by December 1942. The field fell into a state of disuse until the arrival of the Lockheed P-38 twin engine fighter in September 1943.
Past airline service
The first airline to serve Santa Maria was Southwest Airways operating Douglas DC-3 prop aircraft. According to the June 1, 1947 Southwest Airways system timetable, the airline was operating three daily round trip flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco on multi-stop "milk run" routings. A typical routing was Los Angeles-Oxnard-Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-San Luis Obispo-Coalinga-Monterey-Santa Cruz/Watsonville-San Jose/Moffett Field-San Francisco. Southwest then changed its name to Pacific Air Lines which operated Martin 4-0-4 prop aircraft and Fairchild F-27 turboprops into Santa Maria during the 1960s. Pacific Air Lines then merged with Bonanza Air Lines and West Coast Airlines to form Air West which continued to serve the airport with F-27s. Air West changed its name to Hughes Airwest which in turn operated Douglas DC-9 jetliners and F-27 propjets into Santa Maria. According to the Oct. 26, 1975 Hughes Airwest system timetable, the airline was operating daily DC-9 nonstop jet service to Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) from the airport as well as additional nonstop flights to LAX with F-27s. This marked the only time that Santa Maria had nonstop jet service to both LAX and SFO. By 1980, Hughes Airwest had ceased all service into the airport. Hughes Airwest would eventually be acquired by Republic Airlines which in turn was then merged into Northwest Airlines.
At one point during the early 1980s Swift Aire Lines, which was based at the nearby San Luis Obispo Airport, was the only airline flying nonstop between Santa Maria and Los Angeles, primarily with Fokker F27 Friendship turboprops which the carrier had purchased new from the manufacturer. Swift Aire also operated Nord 262 turboprops as well as de Havilland Heron prop aircraft into the airport. Other air carriers over the years included Sun Aire Lines with Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner "Metro II" turboprops, Apollo Airways flying Handley Page HP.137 Jetstreams (Santa Barbara-based Apollo became Pacific Coast Airlines), Wings West Airlines operating as American Eagle with Beechcraft C99, Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner, BAe Jetstream 31 and 32, and Saab 340 turboprops, West Air flying as United Express with BAe Jetstream 31 and Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante turboprops and Mesa Air also operating as United Express with Beechcraft 1900C turboprops.
In 2007 the airport had 62,480 aircraft operations, average 171 per day: 79% general aviation, 19% air taxi, 2% military and <1% airline. 243 aircraft are based at the airport: 83% single-engine, 7% multi-engine, 6% helicopter, 3% jet, <1% glider and <1% ultralight.
Expansion and current airline service
A runway extension opened on May 3, 2012, from 6,304 ft. to 8,004 ft. It is hoped that the extended runway will help to attract new airlines or new destinations.
Allegiant Air has expanded flights between Las Vegas and Santa Maria with four nonstops per week each way. Allegiant nonstop flights on Saturdays to Honolulu, Hawaii began on November 17, 2012. Allegiant's nonstops to Hawaii are now seasonal according to its route map although it is currently unclear concerning when the airline will resume service between Santa Maria and Honolulu. The Hawaii service was being flown with Boeing 757-200 jetliners equipped for ETOPS extended range operations. Allegiant currently operates McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jets on its nonstops to Las Vegas.
A 4,000-square-foot (370 m2) baggage claim facility opened in 2007. It is one of the first airports on the Central Coast to use a state of the art baggage carousel although on a small scale compared with larger airports.
Other enhancements include a new passenger terminal holding room that opened February 2008. The old area had room for 30 passengers. Designed for the current Allegiant Air jet flights the new holding room can accommodate 200 passengers and has room for a new cafe.
Besides the current Allegiant jet service, SkyWest Airlines operating as United Express via a code sharing agreement with United Airlines flies Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia turboprops and on occasion Bombardier CRJ-200 regional jets with nonstop service to Los Angeles (LAX) which is a major connecting hub for United. Skywest has served the airport for many years and first began flights to Santa Maria in 1984 when it acquired Sun Aire Lines which was serving the airport at that time. SkyWest then began flying as a Delta Connection carrier from SMX during the late 1980s via a code sharing agreement with Delta Air Lines operating Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner turboprops before becoming a United Express carrier in California.
The extended primary runway at Santa Maria is paved to 8,004 feet, giving the airport the longest civil runway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on the central coast (Bakersfield's primary runway at Meadows Field in the Central Valley (10855 x 150 ft.) and Vandenberg AFB's runway (15000 x 200 ft.) are longer).
Nov 2007 to October 2008: 56,553 passengers (SkyWest), 53,294 passengers (Allegiant), total 109,847 passengers. Nov 2008 to October 2009, 48,117 passengers (SkyWest), 37,570 passengers (Allegiant), total 85,687 passengers.
Airlines and destinations
|Allegiant Air ||Las Vegas
|United Express ||Los Angeles|
Allan Hancock Field
The original Allan Hancock Field was established in 1927 at another location, between Jones Street to the north, Stowell Road to the south, Bradley Road to the east and Miller Street to the west. The airport housed the Allan Hancock College of Aeronautics operated by the Hancock Foundation of Aeronautics. Before World War II, it was one of eight civil training military aviation cadets. After the war the field was used by the University of Southern California for their 4-year Aeronautics Degree program. In 1958 a bond was passed allowing Santa Maria Junior College to purchase the land, much of which would become the campus of what is now known as Allan Hancock College. The name of the original Santa Maria Airport and Hancock's name then transferred to the other, now public airport in town.
- FAA Airport Master Record for SMX ( PDF), effective 2007-10-25
- Santa Maria Public Airport, official site
- http://www.timetableimages.com; June 1, 1947 Southwest Airways system timetable
- http://www.departedflights.com; Oct. 26, 1975 Hughes Airwest system, timetable, Santa Maria flight schedule, RW flights 723 & 874
- http://www.departedflights.com; Sept. 1, 1980 Hughes Airwest system timetable
- http://www.departedflights.com; April 1, 1981 Official Airline Guide (OAG), LAX-SMX schedules
- http://www.departedflights.com; Dec. 15, 1989 Official Airline Guide (OAG), LAX-SMX flight schedules
- Allegiant route map, accessed March 3, 2014
- United Airlines Timetable, page 250. Accessed March 3, 2014
- Central Coast Jet Center
- (PDF), effective December 11, 2014
- Resources for this airport: