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  • Writer's pictureBig Rick Stuart

Long-Awaited Southwest Airlines Plans to Swoop In to Santa Barbara Market

Santa Barbara received what some may consider an early Christmas present on Wednesday when Southwest Airlines announced it will begin serving the Santa Barbara Airport in 2021.

Southwest’s announcement, which included its plan to also serve Fresno Yosemite International Airport, comes as the airline industry continues to be buffeted by significant turbulence stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed more than 300,000 lives in the United States.

Airport officials teamed up with the business community to lure the nation’s third largest airline to Santa Barbara, including pledging a significant financial contribution toward the Dallas-based company’s local start-up costs.

Southwest did not announce any specific routes Wednesday, but sources tell Noozhawk the carrier is eyeing service to Oakland, San José, Sacramento and San Diego, as well as existing routes such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

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