H-SANTA MARIA

Nov 17, 2012 11:12 PM by Katherine Worsham, KSBY News

First Hawaii-bound flight takes off from Santa Maria Airport

Allegiant Air, which previously only offered a local flight to Las Vegas, is now flying directly to Honolulu.

That means no long drives to Los Angeles or the Bay Area, or having to change planes.

The very first flight took off from the Santa Maria Airport on Saturday.

"We used to take shuttles down to LAX or have to go up to San Francisco and now we don't have to do that," said Carolyn Shank, Los Osos resident.

"I think it's fantastic," added Keone Kauo, Shell Beach resident. "You don't have to drive to San Jose or LA to get a flight to get out of there. Good price, can't beat the deal on the free parking."

To accommodate the new flight, the airport had to add 38 more seats to the terminal and expand the runway so the larger 757 airplanes would have enough room to take off and land.

Airport officials say the connection to Hawaii is good for the entire Central Coast because it will bring people from an entirely new area here to visit.

For now, the flights to and from Hawaii take off and land only on Saturdays.

Santa Maria Airport officials say they're also looking to add flights to Denver or possibly Salt Lake City.

The San Luis Obispo Airport is also in talks with airlines about adding a flight to Denver.

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