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A Message from SBA to Our Community

Post Date:03/27/2020 4:50 PM

Santa Barbara Airport understands the serious impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on our community. We would like to share with you how we are responding to the impacts to the Airport’s core business: commercial air travel.  In short, while the Airport remains open, commercial air travel has been very severely impacted in just the two weeks since the President announced travel restrictions between the United States and Europe. The number of travelers departing from the Airline Terminal has dwindled to less than 200 passengers a day or more than a 90% drop.  With orders such as “shelter-at-home” in place, the number of passengers will continue to dwindle. It is entirely possible that most commercial service will be cancelled at some point in the near future.  The drop in passengers we are experiencing is being seen at airports across the nation and world.

The Airport is also working to maneuver the financial impact that we are already experiencing.  Santa Barbara Airport is an enterprise department of the City of Santa Barbara.  This means that the Airport does not receive ANY local general fund tax dollars and must be self-sustaining with its own revenues.

The vast majority of the Airport’s budget depends upon the revenues generated directly and indirectly from the terminal operation – from the commercial airlines directly, but also related businesses including parking, rental cars, ride-share, terminal advertising, restaurant and newsstand sales. Airport Administration will be implementing immediate budget cuts as well as use of its disaster reserves to make up for lost revenue in an effort to keep the Airport operational.  Like most everyone, our expenses are mostly tied to fixed costs that cannot be deferred. In addition to airline service, the Airport has many other kinds of business activities, including revenues from property rentals that are both aviation-related and strictly commercial/industrial. 

We expect that many of our tenant businesses too will be cutting costs and dipping into reserves to weather the short-term.  We understand that some tenants will be likely asking for different forms of relief.  Aside from the Airport’s own cash flow crisis, combined with the current level of uncertainty that exists, we believe that we are too early into this event to be able to address any of these requests, except where specifically included in an existing lease agreement.  Instead, we would like to point out some potential resources that may be available for any business to help with short-term difficulties. 

Federal Stimulus: While the $2 trillion stimulus was signed into law today in Washington D.C. There are sizable amounts available for businesses and particularly small businesses in the form of advantageous loans, loan guarantees, and tax relief. We will all know more specifics in the coming days. 

Disaster Loans:  SBA loans are being made available to commercial businesses in California.  These loans are being offered up to $2 million, at a fixed 3.75% interest rate, with payment terms of up to 30 years. Loans are being reviewed and approved on an accelerated timeframe, without many of the usual qualifying requirements.

Eviction Moratorium: On March 24, the City of Santa Barbara passed an emergency ordinance that applies to commercial tenants and provides short-term protection from eviction. More information about this ordinance is available on the City’s website,

 Tax Filing & Payments:  The deadline for filing and paying taxes has been delayed until July 15, 2020.

To everyone who has a relationship with the Airport, whether you are a frequent traveler, are an aviation or non-aviation tenant, or you work for one of the many employers at SBA, we express our gratitude for your support in the past, and hope we will be able to weather this storm together as a community.

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