Santa Barbara Airport Gets a new Director

Santa Barbara Airport Gets a new Director title=
Santa Barbara Airport (courtesy photo)
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By the Santa Barbara Airport

The City has named Christopher Hastert as Airport Director for the Santa Barbara Airport. Mr. Hastert’s appointment was confirmed during the September 13, 2022 City Council meeting.

Mr. Hastert comes to the Airport with more than 30 years of airport and airport management experience, including military aviation experience. He most recently held the role of General Manager for the Santa Maria Public Airport District, a commercial service airport that serves aircraft as diverse as single engine trainers to the DC-10 air tanker that fights wildfires in the area. While there, he also oversaw an annual operating budget of over $5.5 million combined with a capital budget of $5 million.

Mr. Hastert thanked the city for entrusting him with the role of Airport Director and expressed his excitement about getting started.

“Providing a convenient, stress-free travel experience for our passengers, promoting the welfare and success of the general aviation community, all while minimizing impacts on neighboring areas, are my key goals and objectives,” he said.

He was chosen for the highly specialized role from a selection of 42 applicants from throughout the United States.

Christopher Hastert (courtesy photo)

“Mr. Hastert’s experience demonstrates strong leadership, business and communications skills, as well as a focus on positively engaging with the community. We are pleased that he will be bringing those skills to the Santa Barbara Airport in this complex role,” City Administrator Rebecca Bjork said.

Mr. Hastert is a private pilot and has experience balancing the needs of both commercial and general aviation at a busy general airport. Highlights of his career at the Santa Maria Public Airport District include being a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for the Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan Update; working on the Santa Maria Airport Master Plan Update; successfully completing an environmentally complicated FAA Land Release; reviving the Central Coast Airfest, and the completion of the Santa Maria Airport Runway Extension. He has certifications from AAAE and TSA.

Mr. Hastert added that he and his wife Kathy, and their sons Riley and Colin appreciate the warm Santa Barbara welcome they’ve already received, and that he is readily available to discuss with staff and the community their airport needs and expectations.

His start date is October 3, 2022.

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a-1663178993 Sep 14, 2022 11:09 AM
Santa Barbara Airport Gets a new Director

Really appreciate his statement that includes..., " all while minimizing impacts on neighboring areas, are my key goals and objectives,” he said. Living nearly 5 miles from the airport, and 3 miles to the north, we have seen a big increase in flyovers in areas not designated for plane traffic, extremely low overflights (pilots can be observed from second story windows), and extremely noisy commercial and military aircraft at all hours of the day and night. In other words, very insensitive to the "rules" of flight paths and times, as if there were not thousands of people impacted at both ends by the airport. Hopefully this experienced manager will find a way to reign the "bad boys" in. The majority of pilots and airplane companies follow the flight paths, don't fly at low altitude when approaching or leaving the airport, but ascend (or descend) rapidly, and in general have quieter planes. We enjoyed using the Santa Maria airport in the past and thought it was very well managed.

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