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New Jet Bridge Arrives at SBA

Post Date:12/11/2019 8:55 AM
In the early morning hours, a 150-foot long glass and steel passenger jet bridge arrived at Santa Barbara Airport on two long semi-trailers all the way from a manufacturing facility in Ogden, Utah.  A 95-foot high crane is onsite to hoist the jet bridge into position and complete the final piece of construction of the airline terminal building that opened in 2011.  The installation and certification of the new jet bridge is expected to be complete in mid-December.  Upon completion, SBA will have a total of four jet bridge boarding gates and one ground boarding gate, as was originally designed for the airline terminal.
Many travelers over the years have wondered about the absence of a Gate 3 and the quizzical labeling of Gate 4 as “Gate 3 & 4.”  It was the result of a conundrum faced by airport officials back when the terminal was nearing original completion.  Air travel was still suffering the impacts from the last national economic recession.  City officials then made the decision to defer the purchase of one jet bridge until air travel rebounded.  More than eight years later, SBA is breaking all historical passenger records and the final jet bridge will be installed in time to welcome 2019’s one millionth passenger, expected to arrive in the month of December.
Santa Barbara Airport’s passenger jet bridges are otherwise notable because of their glass and steel construction, even today very uncommon at commercial airports.  “City leaders knew back then that visitors’ first impressions of Santa Barbara would form coming off flights and looking at the striking Santa Ynez Mountain views,” said Henry Thompson, Airport Director. “It’s a testament to the foresight of City leaders to build a facility worthy of such a beautiful city.”
The cost of the passenger jet bridge is $1.2 million and is funded by a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, along with a nearly 10% matching investment by the Airport.  The Airport’s share of the jet bridge investment is in turn supported by income from commercial air service operations, not local tax dollars.
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