Located to the west of Santa Barbara, the Lompoc Public Airport has been servicing the city of Lompoc and the greater Santa Barbara area for more than fifty years. Although it was first built and publicly dedicated in the year 1960, the City of Lompoc did not assume ownership of the airport until 1991. Once it did, however, the runways and airfields were greatly improved and expanded, and the Lompoc Public Airport began its tenure as a friendly local airfield that eased the commute or journey to larger, farther-away airports or cities.
Since the 1960’s, and with a sudden boost in public service in the 90’s, this small airport has served as a fixture of local life and commerce for nearly a hundred years—but it will not continue to do so for very much longer. In 2020, despite extensive renovations that have been taking place over the past few years, the Lompoc Public Airport is reportedly going to be closing its runways for good. A staple of Lompoc life and transportation, as well as an important gateway that allows small connecting flights to larger airports, as well as facilitates travel between the rest of the country and the small city of Lompoc, the loss of the Lompoc Public Airport will doubtless be keenly felt. For years, the airport has served as a local landmark—a bike path meanders around the perimeter, town events have centered around it, and vintage airplane flights are open to the community when the weather permits. Indeed, just earlier this year, the Lompoc Public Airport was in the middle of undergoing around 1.3 million dollars in upgrades to be completed on the first of July, making the reported closing even more of a shock for Lompoc and the surrounding areas.
The extensive renovations to the airport are the result of a quickly degrading infrastructure, particularly in regards to the runways, which are reportedly loose enough to potentially injure the engines or exteriors of incoming planes, as loose bits of rock or gravel, when kicked up into an engine’s blades, can cause damage that is extremely difficult and costly to repair. Perhaps because of the continued cost to the city as well as to investors, it may suddenly be in the best interest of the city to simply close the airport, rather than continuing to try and smooth over the apparently vast disrepair that threatens to frighten away incoming flights.
Regardless of the reason, the fact remains that the loss of the Lompoc Public Airport will almost certainly be keenly felt by all those in Lompoc and in the surrounding communities. Faced with the prospect of a harder commute to the next nearest airport, some thirty kilometers away, many will surely be greatly saddened to hear that, in just a little more than three short years, a little piece of California airway history will be permanently lost, as, in 2020, the Lompoc Public Airport closes its doors for good.