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Thanksgiving week lifts SB Airport to busiest day since pandemic began

SB Airport Thanksgiving week
Ryan Fish/KEYT
Sunday was Santa Barbara Airport's busiest day for passengers since the pandemic began.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health experts, more people have been flying in the past week, across the country and on the South Coast.

On Sunday, Santa Barbara Airport saw its busiest day since the pandemic began--with 683 passengers traveling through the airport, according to the Transportation Security Administration. That came after another day with more than 600 passengers on Saturday.

From Saturday through Tuesday, passenger numbers beat TSA projections.

“It seems to be a reflection of that no matter what the conditions, there are people who, for any number of reasons really, feel like they really have to fly,” said airport spokesperson Deanna Zachrisson on Tuesday.

Zachrisson says since the spring, the airport has seen a "slow, slow, incremental climb" in passenger numbers.

“As far as air travel, I think a number of people planned well enough in advance that perhaps the cautions about traveling maybe just came a tad bit too late,” she said. “It’ll be interesting to see if there’s a greater degree of caution traveling before the Christmas holiday.”

Even with a busier week, SBA's passenger numbers have nosedived compared to this time last year.

On Tuesday, 597 passengers traveled through the airport compared to 1,900 on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving last year, a 68 percent drop.

A direct flight from Santa Barbara to San Diego was expected to begin service this month, but now has been delayed to mid-March.

Coronavirus / Health / Lifestyle / Safety / Santa Barbara - South County
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Ryan Fish

Ryan Fish is a reporter, sports anchor and forecaster for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Ryan, click here.

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