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Mar 25, 2010 12:14 AM by Monica Quintero

Santa Maria airport might get direct flight to Hawaii

It's still up in the air but local travelers could in the future have a direct flight to Hawaii. On Wednesday, KSBY News talked with a spokesperson from Allegiant Air. She told us the Santa Maria Public Airport is being considered. However, she wouldn't say how many airports are in the running. Allegiant Air announced it bought Boeing 7-57's for direct flights from the mainland to Hawaii. But the airline has not said how many were purchased.

In the movie "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," a heart broken character takes off to Hawaii to forget about his problems. There's a possibility Central Coast travelers could soon be able to do the same on Allegiant Air. Leonard Delgado, Santa Maria resident, said, "They're already flying to Las Vegas. Why not, fly to Hawaii." Sandy Henninger, Air Traveler, said, "I think anytime you can avoid going to a bigger city and flying directly out of Santa Maria, it's a wonderful idea."

An Allegiant Air spokesperson confirmed the airline is considering Santa Maria as a departure city when it adds new non-stop service to Hawaii. Allegiant has built it's business by flying from smaller airports to popular vacation destinations.

Santa Maria is under consideration since there are no Central Coast airports that offer direct flights to the aloha state. Henniger said, "I would pay more to fly out of Santa Maria anytime because look at the wonderful parking they have here and you don't pay for it."

The general manager of the Santa Maria airport said they've been in talks with Allegiant about the Hawaii flights. But they're playing the waiting game just like everyone else. Christopher Hastert, General Manager, said, "We will be pushing to bring those into Santa Maria."

So when might Allegiant begin direct service to Hawaii? The airline is shooting for the fourth quarter of this year. But it remains to be seen if Santa Maria will make the cut and become a departure point for paradise. Allegiant Air is hoping to make an announcement in the next two or three months. Again, the Santa Maria airport is in the running but it's not a done deal. The general manager of the Santa Maria airport also tells us they're actively seeking new destinations on current airlines as well as coming up with a marketing plan for attracting new airlines in the future. But he adds it's difficult to entice them to come into a new market.

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