Santa Maria Public Airport
|Santa Maria Public Airport
Capt. G. Allan Hancock Field
Santa Maria Army Airfield
2006 USGS Photo
|Owner||Santa Maria Public Airport District|
|Serves||Santa Maria, California|
|Elevation AMSL||261 ft / 80 m|
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.
Historical airline service
The first airline to serve Santa Maria was Pacific Seaboard Air Lines. In 1933 Pacific Seaboard was operating two daily round trip flights with single engine Bellanca CH-300s on a Los Angeles - Santa Barbara - Santa Maria - San Luis Obispo - Paso Robles - Monterey - Salinas - San Jose - San Francisco routing. Pacific Seaboard would later move its entire operation to the eastern U.S., be renamed Chicago and Southern Air Lines, and in 1953 be acquired by and merged into Delta Air Lines. Southwest Airways Douglas DC-3s began service during the 1940s. The June 1, 1947 timetable lists three daily round trips flying Los Angeles-Oxnard-Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-San Luis Obispo-Coalinga-Monterey-Santa Cruz/Watsonville-San Jose/Moffett Field-San Francisco. Southwest changed its name to Pacific Air Lines and 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 became Hughes Airwest which in turn served Santa Maria with McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 jets and Fairchild F-27 propjets. The Oct. 26, 1975 Hughes Airwest timetable listed DC-9 nonstops to Los Angeles and San Francisco as well as nonstop F-27s to LAX. This was the only time Santa Maria had nonstop mainline jets to LAX and SFO at the same time; DC-9 flights ended in a few months and Hughes Airwest left the airport in 1979.
A number of commuter air carriers also served the airport. In 1968 Cable Commuter Airlines was flying de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters to LAX. At one point in the early 1980s Swift Aire Lines, based at nearby San Luis Obispo Airport, was the only airline flying nonstop between Santa Maria and Los Angeles, mainly with new Fokker F27 Friendships. Swift Aire also operated Nord 262s and de Havilland Herons to the airport. Other commuter airlines included Sun Aire Lines with Fairchild Swearingen Metroliners, Santa Barbara-based Apollo Airways (which changed its name to Pacific Coast Airlines) flying Handley Page HP.137 Jetstreams, Wings West Airlines operating as American Eagle with Beechcraft C99s, Fairchild Swearingen Metroliners, BAe Jetstream 31s, and Saab 340s, West Air flying as United Express with BAe Jetstream 31s and Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirantes and Mesa Air also operating as United Express with Beechcraft 1900Cs.
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.
Current and recent past 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's nonstops to Las Vegas are operated with McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jets. In 2012, Allegiant Air briefly operated Boeing 757-200 jetliners into the airport with nonstop service once a week between Santa Maria and Honolulu, Hawaii before suspending these flights.
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.
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 Allegiant jet service, SkyWest Airlines operating as United Express via a code sharing agreement with United Airlines previously flew Bombardier CRJ-200 regional jets nonstop to San Francisco (SFO), a major hub for United. Skywest served the airport for many years and began flights to Santa Maria in 1984 when it acquired Sun Aire Lines. 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 Metroliners before becoming a United Express carrier. SkyWest had previously operated United Express service nonstop to Los Angeles with Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia propjets; however, flights to LAX were discontinued in favor of nonstop Canadair regional jet service to SFO for United. SkyWest operating as United Express has since ceased all flights on the Santa Maria - San Francisco route and no longer serves the airport. Mokulele Airlines subsequently replaced the SkyWest/United Express service to Los Angeles (LAX) operating the Cessna 208 Caravan commuter turboprop aircraft on the route. However, in 2016, Mokulele moved the service to Burbank, and was terminated on November 30, 2017.
The extended 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).
This article needs to be updated.(March 2015)
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. SkyWest operating as United Express has since ceased all service into Santa Maria.
Airlines and destinations
|Allegiant Air||Las Vegas|
|FedEx Feeder operated by West Air||Ontario|
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, Summer 1933 Pacific Seaboard Air Lines system timetable
- http://www.deltamuseum.org, Chicago and Southern (C&S) Air Lines
- http://www.timetableimages.com; June 1, 1947 Southwest Airways timetable
- http://www.departedflights.com, April 15, 1975 Official Airline Guide (OAG), San Francisco-Santa Maria & Los Angeles-Santa Maria flight schedules
- http://www.departedflights.com; Oct. 26, 1975 Hughes Airwest timetable
- http://www.timetableimages.com, Dec. 1, 1968 Cable Commuter Airlines timetable
- http://www.departedflights.com; April 1, 1981 Official Airline Guide
- http://santamariatimes.com/news/local, "First 757 touches down at Santa Maria Airport"
- http://www.departedflights.com; Dec. 15, 1989 Official Airline Guide
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Santa Maria Army Airfield.|
- Central Coast Jet Center
- (PDF), effective January 4, 2018
- Resources for this airport: