- December 18, 2006, 9:55 AM
U.S. Customs and Border Protection opened a new office at Santa Maria Airport (SMX) on December 4, with operating hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Jim Kunkle, president of FBO Central Coast Jet Center, said that Santa Maria is a frequent launch point for business jet flights to Hawaii. The first customer to use the new customs service was a BBJ flying from Asia early last month. Aircraft needing customs clearance in the Los Angeles area must now land at Los Angeles International Airport as customs officers will no longer provide clearance at Long Beach, Burbank or Van Nuys. SMX’s runway is 6,300 feet long but is scheduled to be extended to 8,000 feet next year. Central Coast Jet Center is also building a new 25,000-sq-ft hangar.