It was a relatively average Tuesday morning at Hollywood Burbank Airport. Two planes, one from United Airlines and another from Southwest Airlines, landed on the runway and taxied to their respective terminals.
There was also a third aircraft — much smaller than the Boeing 737 and Embraer 175 planes that landed first — which touched down at Hollywood Burbank at about 10:55 a.m.
The smaller plane was a nine-seat Cessna Grand Caravan operated by Mokulele Airlines, which made its first-ever flight from Santa Maria Public Airport to Terminal B at Hollywood Burbank on Tuesday. The passengers, who were mostly officials from Santa Maria Public Airport, were greeted by local airfield staff who brought their guests a cake and colorful lei for the passengers and pilots.
Capt. Elissa Zavora, who was the pilot flying the Cessna, said the flight was great overall as it took them about an hour to fly from the Central Coast to Burbank.
“The passengers told me that we went over the [Ronald] Reagan Library,” Zavora said , adding that she didn’t have a chance to see a lot of the notable landmarks during the flight.
“We did go over the coast, and it was really nice. We passed through right over Santa Barbara and had the Channel Islands on our right and the beaches on the left,” she said.
Mokulele, which is based in Hawaii, is the newest airline to operate out of Hollywood Burbank. In 2016, the airline began offering its first stateside flights out of the Los Angeles International Airport to Santa Maria and Imperial County.
However, because of the recent construction at LAX and increasing operating costs there, Mokulele officials decided to switch operations to Hollywood Burbank.
“It’ll be easier to get in and out of [Hollywood Burbank] than it has been from Los Angeles,” Zavora said. “I like small airports and small communities because things are more tightknit, and it has a strong community feel.”
Mokulele is offering two daily flights to Santa Maria Monday through Friday and one weekend flight.
Chris Hastert, general manager of Santa Maria Public Airport, said it will be the first time his airfield and Hollywood Burbank have worked together and, so far, the coordination and cooperation have been good.
Hastert said there was some apprehension about Mokulele switching its operations from LAX to Hollywood Burbank, but the local airport’s recent passenger increases over the last year have him hopeful for a positive relationship between the two airfields.
“We have a lot of wine and other things in our region, so hopefully we can get some Burbank people up there,” Hastert said. “For our passengers traveling out [to Hollywood Burbank] with all the different airlines that are here, especially Southwest, and the ease of going through the terminals compared to L.A., we hope that that really does work very well with our passengers.”