The last five years have been full of ups and downs for the airport. It was booming until the economic recession hit.
But it's now on a comeback, and could be taking off again soon.
"It just fills this space wonderfully, it just fits in the building." Jack Gotcher remembers the day when the replica of Space Ship One was hung. "It was quite an engineering feat to get it brought into the building."
He remembers when the William M. Thomas Terminal opened in 2006, when economic times were good. "We were growing at 20% to 30% a year from 2003 to 2008."
And he remembers the recession. "When Mexicana Airlines pulled its international flights, Delta merged with Northwest eliminating its Salt Lake City service. "Other destinations were lost and air travel plummeted."
"It's frustrating to downsize an organization that you built and was doing really well."
But that's all in the past. Customers are increasing again, and flights to Denver and Houston have been added. And travelers say it's an easy airport to fly from.
"It's easy to get in and get out of. Some of the upgrades they've done lately are making it a really nice airport. Long term parking is only a football field away," says Harvey Stephens, Tehachapi.
But sometimes, where the planes go can be a problem. "Often times, travel out of Bakersfield adds one more leg to your travels and if you're in a hurry it's a little less convenient."
It's been a cloudy problem for the airport. But looking into the future, Gotcher says it's possible new airlines could come to Bakersfield, restoring old services or possibly offering new destinations.
"There were eight airlines that had us on their short list. Usually when an airline starts to focus on you, it takes a year or two years to make the decision to go in. It could very well be we get a couple of airlines this year. We'll just have to wait and see."
Nothing has been finalized yet and there's no word on when plans could happen. Gotcher says his last day will be March 23.