The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Board of Directors today certified the Final Environmental Impact Report for the Airport Development Plan (ADP), which envisions the replacement of the 53-year-old Terminal 1 at San Diego International Airport.
The unanimous vote brings the highly anticipated project one step closer to reality.
“Today we took an important vote that will help ensure our airport can accommodate expected passenger growth well into the future and ensure our customers and their families are treated to a better airport experience than today’s Terminal 1 can provide,” said April Boling, Airport Authority Board Chairman. “The plan will also ensure the airport can continue to function as an economic engine for the region for decades to come.”
The new Terminal 1 would feature 30 gates (up from 19 in the current terminal) and represent a significant upgrade for passengers. It would offer more gate-area seating, restaurants and shops, as well as additional security checkpoints with more lanes and a host of energy-efficiency upgrades.
San Diego International Airport is the busiest single-runway commercial airport in the U.S. It has seen record growth in passenger volumes over the past six years. The impacts of this growth are most evident in Terminal 1. When it opened in 1967, it served 2.5 million passengers that year. In 2019, the same facility served more than 12 million.
Overall, the airport served roughly 25 million passengers in 2019. More than 1 million of them were international passengers.
The Airport Development Plan (ADP) would also include numerous roadway and transportation improvements to make it easier for everyone to access the airport. A proposed on-airport entry road would remove an estimated 45,000 cars per day from Harbor Drive. The plan also includes right-of-way for outbound lanes, when needed.
The Airport Authority has been working with SANDAG, the Port District, the City of San Diego, MTS, NCTD, Caltrans, the County of San Diego and other regional agencies to assist in their efforts to analyze circulation around the Airport, as well as to determine the best transit solution for carrying people to the airport.
The Airport Authority has set aside space between the terminals for a transit station that could accommodate any regional transit system chosen by SANDAG and other regional planning agencies.
In addition, the Airport Authority will launch an all-electric shuttle fleet that will carry transit riders to and from the Old Town Transit Center. This service is scheduled to start in mid-2020.
The Airport Authority has also submitted a request to the FAA to approve using airport revenues to help fund off-airport roadway and transit projects to ease access to airport.
In July 2019, the Airport Authority announced an unprecedented 10-year lease agreement with its airline partners that included airline pre-approval of more than $500 million total for off-airport and on-airport transportation improvements.
The ADP is aligned with the City’s Climate Action Plan and will provide expanded electric vehicle charging infrastructure, a bicycle path on Harbor Drive and new incentives to promote alternative commuting habits among employees. The plan also focuses on air quality.
“Our emissions are now among the lowest in the country,” said Kim Becker, President/CEO of the Airport Authority. “In fact, we are one of only two airports in North America to achieve a carbon neutrality certification under the Airport Carbon Accreditation program.”
The Airport Authority has also completed a plan to address impacts from higher sea levels, more intense rainfall and extreme heat. Part of this plan includes a partnership with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to monitor rising sea levels using advanced sensors in San Diego Bay.
Additionally, there is a plan to expand stormwater systems that provide the ability to capture and reuse more than 39 million gallons of rain annually.
Next steps for the project include federal environmental review and consideration of a Coastal Development permit by the California Coastal Commission.
The goal is to break ground on the new terminal in 2021 and open the first phase (19 gates) in 2024.
For more information, visit www.san.org/plan.
ABOUT THE AIRPORT
San Diego International Airport (SAN) offers nonstop service to 70 destinations in the continental U.S., Europe, Asia, Mexico and Canada. In operation since 1928, the airport celebrated more than 90 years of service to the San Diego region in 2018. The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has managed the airport since 2003. The Airport Authority plans for and provides air transportation services to the region with safe, effective facilities that exceed customer expectations.