|San Diego International Airport
|IATA: SAN ICAO: KSAN FAA LID: SAN|
|Owner||San Diego County Regional Airport Authority|
|Serves||Greater San Diego|
|Location||North Harbor Drive
San Diego, California
|Focus city for||Southwest Airlines|
|Elevation AMSL||17 ft / 5 m|
|FAA airport diagram|
|Statistics (2009, 2010)|
|Total Passengers (2010)||16,889,622|
|International Passengers (2009)||194,172|
|Traffic Movements (2009)||199,209|
|Source: FAA, Airport Authority|
San Diego International Airport (IATA: SAN, ICAO: KSAN, FAA LID: SAN), also known as Lindbergh Field, is a public airport located 3 mi (4.8 km) northwest of the central business district of San Diego, California and 15 mi (24 km) from the Mexico United States border at Tijuana, Mexico. It is operated by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.
San Diego International is the busiest single-runway commercial service airport in the United States, and second busiest single use-runway in the world with approximately 550 departures and arrivals carrying 50,000 passengers each day, and a total of 16,890,722 passengers in 2011. San Diego is the largest metropolitan area of the United States that serves as neither a hub nor a secondary hub for any airline; however, the airport is a focus city for Southwest Airlines.
The airport is located near the site of the old Ryan Airlines factory, but it is not the same as Dutch Flats, the Ryan airstrip where Charles Lindbergh flight tested the Spirit of St. Louis before his historic 1927 transatlantic flight. The site of Dutch Flats is on the other side of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, in the Midway area, near the current intersection of Midway and Barnett avenues.
Inspired by Lindbergh's historic flight and excited to have made the plane he flew, the city of San Diego passed a bond issue in 1928 for construction of a two-runway municipal airport to be operated by the city. Lindbergh himself encouraged the building of the airport and agreed to lend his name to it. The new airport, dedicated on August 16, 1928, was given the name San Diego Municipal Airport Lindbergh Field, by which name it is still known. This naming occurred because San Diego was the city from which Lindbergh began the journey that would ultimately become the first solo transatlantic flight, in addition to being the place where his aircraft was designed, built, and tested, at Dutch Flats.
The airport was the first federally certified airfield to serve all aircraft types, including seaplanes. The original terminal was located on the northeastern side of the field, along Pacific Highway. The airport also served as a testing facility for several early U.S. sailplane designs, notably those by William Hawley Bowlus (superintendent of construction on the Spirit of St. Louis) who also operated the Bowlus Glider School at Lindbergh Field from 19291930. On June 1, 1930, a regular San Diego Los Angeles airmail route was initiated. The airport gained 'international airport' status in 1934, and a United States Coast Guard Air Base located adjacent to the field was commissioned in April 1937. The Coast Guard's fixed-wing aircraft made use of the runway at Lindbergh Field until the mid-1990s when the fixed-wing aircraft were retired.
The Army Air Corps took the field over in 1942 to support the war effort, improving it to handle the heavy bombers being manufactured in the region. This transformation, including an 8,750 ft (2,670 m) runway, made the airport "jet-ready' long before jet airliners came into service. After the war commercial air service at Lindbergh Field expanded rapidly. Pacific Southwest Airlines established its headquarters in San Diego and inaugurated service at Lindbergh Field in 1949. The April 1957 Official Airline Guide shows 42 departures a day: 14 American, 13 United, 6 Western, 6 Bonanza and 3 PSA (5 PSA on Friday and Sunday). American had a nonstop to Dallas and one to El Paso; aside from that nonstop flights didn't reach beyond California and Arizona.
The original terminal was on the north side of the airport and was used until the 1960s; by then air traffic in San Diego had increased considerably and new facilities were needed in a location where aircraft did not have to cross the runway to get to the gates. The current Terminal 1 was opened on the south side of the airport on March 5, 1967. It was not until July 11, 1979 that Terminal 2 was opened. These two terminals were designed by Paderewski Dean & Associates. A third terminal, dubbed the Commuter Terminal, opened on July 23, 1996. Terminal 2 was later expanded by 300,000 square feet (27,871 m2) in 1998, opening on January 7, 1998. The expanded Terminal 2 and the Commuter Terminal were designed by Gensler and SGPA Architecture and Planning. In the 1990s, the official name of the airport became San Diego International Airport, but is still often referred to as Lindbergh Field by the local residents. As downtown San Diego developed, one of the airport's two runways was closed. This 3,600 foot runway was rarely used and insufficient in length for commercial aircraft.
Originally built and operated by the City of San Diego through the sale of municipal bonds to be repaid by airport users, then the San Diego Unified Port District, the airport is now operated by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.
San Diego International Airport's expansion program, dubbed "The Green Build", is expected to help the airport meet current and future travel demands. Expected to be complete in early 2013, the project focuses on expansion and enhancements at Terminal 2. Additions include 10 new gates on the west side of Terminal 2 West, a dual-level roadway separating arriving and departing passengers, additional security lanes, and an expanded concession area.
On February 8, 2008, SANDAG and the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority discussed long-term future measures on how best to achieve three goals: (1) optimize the airport, (2) improve transit to the airport region-wide and (3) reduce traffic congestion in the vicinity of the airport. They created the Ad Hoc Airport Regional Policy Committee, chaired by then-San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. Destination Lindbergh was a year-long, comprehensive analysis that considered ground transportation, an intermodal facility, passenger terminal, airfield/airspace, environment, financial feasibility and regional development issues to ultimately produce a Draft Concept for the long-term development of Lindbergh Field. On March 23, 2009, the Airport Authority Board accepted the Destination Lindbergh Draft Concept for public distribution and further directed that an invitation be sent to all stakeholders for future planning, and that the Concept establish benchmarks for operations, an economic turnaround and transit ridership. The plan outlines three basic models of future development: north-centric (bordering the Pacific Highway and interstate 5), south-centric (where it is currently) and a hybrid version, with terminals on the south side, passenger processing, rental cars and parking on the north side, and an automated people mover connecting the two underneath the runway. Plans also outline a dedicated I-5 on and off ramps, Coaster/Amtrak station, trolley, and eventually the southern terminus of the California High Speed Rail line. As of January 2013, San Diego mayor  stated that he plans to fast track efforts to make the plans a reality for San Diego.
Landing at the airport from the east (the most common approach) offers dramatic closeup views of skyscrapers, Petco Park (home of the San Diego Padres), and the Coronado Bridge from the left side of the aircraft. On the right, Balboa Park, site of the 19151916 Panama-California Exposition, can be seen, along with the San Diego Zoo and several freeways.
The approach from the east is steep, necessitated by terrain which drops from 266 ft (81 m) to sea level in less than one nautical mile. Aircraft normally descend at 318 feet per nautical mile (52.3 m/km), or 3.00 degrees. Recently, some obstructions have been removed and the glidepath has been lowered from 3.5 degrees to 3.14 degrees. San Diego's only runway is located at the base of a hill lined with several obstructions, including Interstate 5 and trees in Balboa Park. Contrary to local lore, the parking structure off the end of the runway was built long after previous obstructions built up east of I-5. The parking structure was then built up to this controlling limit.
Aircraft arriving from the east do not land at the end of the runway as at most airports, but land at what is called a displaced threshold, located 1,810 feet (550 m) from the runway end, effectively shortening the landing distance to 7,591 feet (2,314 m). Aircraft departing to the west use the east end of the runway as their departure point, but terrain west of the airport reduces the effective runway length to roughly 8,800-foot (2,700 m).
Runway 27 (landing east to west), not equipped with ILS, becomes unusable for landing when visibility drops below 2 miles or the ceiling drops below 700 feet, forcing arriving aircraft to use Runway 9 (landing west to east). However, because of the terrain east of the airport, weight limits are imposed on larger departing aircraft, and some aircraft require taking off to the west to take advantage of the prevailing west winds and reduced terrain. This can create head to head operations, and can cause traffic problems and delays both in the air and on the ground. Problems can also arise when stormy weather brings both strong west winds and low ceilings to the airport as the only available direction to land would be in tail winds.
Terrain east and west of the airport greatly impacts the available runway length. Runway 27 (heading west) has a climb gradient of 317 ft/nmi (52.2 m/km) feet per nautical mile leaving an equivalent takeoff distance of roughly 8,000 ft (2,400 m) for twin engine aircraft). Taking off to the east requires a 300 ft/nmi (49 m/km) climb rate, this leaves an equivalent takeoff distance of 7,200 ft (2,200 m), enough to force a weight penalty on the 737800.
Lindbergh Field does not have standard 1,000 ft (300 m) runway safety areas at the end of each runway. An engineered materials arrestor system (EMAS) has been installed at the west end of the runway to halt any aircraft overruns. The east end of the runway does not have such a system as its use would reduce the runway length by at least 400 ft (120 m), further impacting the runway's capability for departures to the west. Instead, the use of declared distances reduces the mathematical length of Runway 9 (west to east operations) by declaring that the easternmost end of Runway 9 is 1,121 feet shorter than it actually is (a net length of 8,280-feet). In general, use of a portion of a runway is better than a normal safety area because it is a paved and grooved surface providing full stopping power vs. a typical safety area that is usually smoothed and graded earth or grass.
SAN is located in a highly populated area. To appease the concerns of the airport's neighbors regarding noise and possible ensuing lawsuits, a curfew was put in place in 1979. Departures are allowed between 6:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. Departures outside those hours are subject to a large fine. Arrivals are permitted 24 hours per day. While several flights have scheduled departure times before 6:15 a.m., these times are pushback times; the first takeoff roll is at 6:30 a.m.
As of December, 2012, San Diego International Airport is served by 21 passenger airlines and four cargo airlines which fly nonstop to 53 destinations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, and Japan.
British Airways resumed non-stop service to London Heathrow Airport on June 1, 2011, utilizing Boeing 777-200 equipment. The airline had discontinued the route in October, 2003, after the worldwide downturn in aviation after 9/11. The airline had been flying nonstop to London Heathrow (previously London Gatwick on their 777-200's); however, previously the route had been flown from Gatwick via Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on a Boeing 747-400. After 9/11, the route was dropped to six days a week, then five, and then cancelled altogether. In June, 2010, the European Union approved the new joint-venture between British Airways, American Airlines, and Iberia Airlines, which dropped many of the provisions of the Bermuda II treaty and its restrictions on airlines flying to Heathrow. Oneworld members now can earn mileage on any American, British, or Japan Airlines flight.
Japan Airlines began service to Tokyo-Narita on December 2, 2012, using the Boeing 787 aircraft. This is the airport's first nonstop service to Asia. The flights will operate four times a week until March 2, 2013, when daily service will begin. This will be a joint business service with fellow oneworld airline member and joint business partner American Airlines.
The busiest route in terms of operations is to Los Angeles with 30 daily round trips split between United Express, American Eagle, and Delta Connection. The busiest route in terms of available seats per day is to San Francisco with 2,400 seats spread across 21 weekday round trips on United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Virgin America.
In January 2008, San Diego International Airport entered the blogosphere with the launch of the first employee blog the Ambassablog for a major U.S. airport. Written by front-line employees, the blog features regular posts on airport activities, events and initiatives; reader comments; and several multimedia and interactive features. It has been presented as a case study in employee blogging to several public agencies at the federal, state and local levels.
In February 2008, San Diego International Airport became one of the first major airports in the U.S. to adopt a formal sustainability policy, which expresses the airport's commitment to a four-layer approach to sustainability known as EONS. As promulgated by Airports Council International North America, EONS represents an integrated "quadruple bottom line" of (E)conomic viability, (O)perational excellence, (N)atural resource conservation and preservation and (S)ocial responsibility.
In May 2008, the California Attorney General, Jerry Brown, announced an agreement with San Diego International Airport on reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with the airport's proposed master plan improvements. In announcing the agreement, the Attorney General's office said "San Diego airport will play a key leadership role in helping California meet its aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets."
Public transport is provided by Metropolitan Transit System bus No. 992, which connects the airport to downtown San Diego, where connections can be made to other bus routes and the San Diego Trolley, COASTER, and Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner.
San Diego International Airport is testing a new system of airfield lights called Runway Status Lights (RWSL) for the FAA. It also completed the rehabilitation of the north taxiway in 2010. A project that included replacing its airfield lighting and signage with energy efficient LED lights where possible (LEDs are only permissible for use on Taxiway Lights, Obstruction Lights, Signage and Medium Intensity Runway Lights at this time the runway at San Diego uses High Intensity Runway Lights) and is in the process of constructing 10 new gates for Terminal 2 West.
An interesting feature of the airport is the existence of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) air station in the south-east corner of the airfield. The installation originally supported fixed-wing seaplane operations, with seaplane ramps leading into the bay, as well as conventional land-based fixed-wing aircraft and rotary-wing operations.
The air station is physically separated from the rest of the airfield, so that USCG fixed-wing aircraft must cross North Harbor Drive, a busy, 6-lane city street, to reach the runway. Street light activation opens the locked gates to the airfield and the air station, and also stops traffic while aircraft are crossing the street. This was a common occurrence during the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s when CGAS San Diego had both HH-3F Pelican and HH-60J Jayhawk helicopters and HU-25 Guardian jets assigned. Today, this is an extremely rare occurrence, as CGAS San Diego's HU-25As have been reassigned and there are no fixed-wing aircraft currently assigned to Coast Guard Air Station San Diego.
California State Assembly Bill AB 93 created the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority in 2001. The SDCRAA projects that SAN will be constrained due to congestion between 20152022. In June 2006, SDCRAA board members selected Marine Corps Air Station Miramar as its preferred site for a replacement airport, despite military objections. On November 7, 2006, San Diego County residents defeated an advisory relocation which included a joint use proposal measure.
The airport is operating with 71% of its total gate capacity of 60 gates and will soon add 10 more gates taking the airport to 92% of its total gate capacity.
Twenty-two studies have been conducted on where to place an airport dating back to 1923. The first study developed the site location plan for Lindbergh field. Eighteen studies were conducted by private groups, most in the early days by those who were opposed to Lindbergh being built instead of on land set aside at what is now Montgomery Field. One was a revisitation of a study done in the 1980s by the City in 1994 when Miramar closed as a Navy Base and was then transferred to a Marine Base. Another was by the City of San Diego in 1984 and another that started in 1996 and sat dormant with SANDAG until the Airport Authority was formed. This study is the first study ever done to look for a new site by an agency that actually had jurisdiction over the issue, and the first non-site specific comprehensive study of the entire region.
There are three terminals at Lindbergh:
|Alaska Airlines||Boston, Honolulu, Kahului, Lihue (begins June 7, 2013), Orlando, Portland (OR), San Jose Del Cabo, Seattle/Tacoma, Puerto Vallarta||1|
|Alaska Airlines operated by Horizon Air||Fresno, Monterey, Santa Rosa||1|
|American Airlines||Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami (begins June 12, 2013), New York-JFK||2|
|American Eagle||Los Angeles||Commuter|
|American Eagle operated by SkyWest Airlines||Los Angeles||Commuter|
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK, Salt Lake City
|Delta Connection operated by SkyWest Airlines||Los Angeles||Commuter|
|Delta Connection operated by SkyWest Airlines||Salt Lake City||2|
|JetBlue Airways||Boston, New York-JFK||2|
|SeaPort Airlines||Imperial (begins May 1, 2013)||Commuter|
|Southwest Airlines||Albuquerque, Atlanta (begins September 29, 2013), Austin, Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Denver, El Paso, Houston-Hobby, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Nashville, Oakland, Phoenix, Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), Tucson||1|
|Spirit Airlines||Dallas/Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Portland (OR), San Jose del Cabo||2|
|Sun Country Airlines||Minneapolis/St. Paul||2|
|United Airlines||Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Houston-Intercontinental, Newark, San Francisco, Washington-Dulles
|United Express operated by SkyWest Airlines||Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco
Seasonal: Mammoth Lakes
|US Airways||Charlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Washington-National||2|
|US Airways Express operated by SkyWest Airlines||Phoenix||2|
|Virgin America||San Francisco||2|
|1||London (Heathrow), United Kingdom||256,453||British Airways|
|2||Mexico City, Mexico||192,843||Volaris|
|3||Toronto (Pearson), Canada||143,876||Air Canada|
|6||San Jose del Cabo, Mexico||75,876||Alaska Airlines, Spirit|
|1||San Francisco, CA||751,000||Southwest, United, Virgin America|
|2||Phoenix, AZ||656,000||Southwest, US Airways|
|3||Denver, CO||564,000||Frontier, Southwest, United|
|4||Las Vegas, NV||475,000||Southwest, Spirit|
|5||Dallas/Fort Worth, TX||412,000||American, Spirit|
|6 (tie)||Chicago, IL||365,000||American, United|
|6 (tie)||Oakland, CA||365,000||Southwest|
|8||Los Angeles, CA||350,000||American, Delta, United|
|9 (tie)||Seattle, WA||347,000||Alaska|
|9 (tie)||Atlanta, GA||347,000||Delta|
|DHL Express operated by ABX Air||Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Phoenix|
|FedEx Express||Memphis, Indianapolis, Oakland, Ontario, Los Angeles|
|UPS Airlines||Honolulu, Louisville|
Landmark Aviation is the FBO (fixed base operator) at San Diego International Airport. Landmark services all aircraft ranging from single engine Cessna aircraft to four engine Boeing 747s. Generally, they service corporate traffic to the airport. The FBO ramp is located at the north-east end of the airfield. Landmark Aviation was formerly known as Jimsair Aviation Services. Jimsair was the FBO at the airport for 55 years, until July 2008, when they were purchased by Landmark Aviation.
Tijuana International Airport is directly adjacent to the Mexico United States border. The Tijuana airport offers intercontinental nonstop flights to Shanghai, China as well as to many destinations within Mexico. Tijuana used to have flights to Tokyo-Narita, however this flight now only operates as a westbound fuel stop to Narita. The eastbound operation operates nonstop between Tokyo and Mexico City. When Aeromexico began offering flights from Tijuana to Asia they hoped to attract passengers from both sides of the border, including those from as far away as Orange County. The airline offers complimentary shuttle service from San Diego. Various proposals for cross border terminals have been discussed over the years and a Presidential permit for the border crossing was issued in the summer of 2010.
McClellan-Palomar Airport is located approximately 35 miles north in the city of Carlsbad. The airport is served by United Express with daily service to Los Angeles International Airport. It is planned to be the main base for a new startup airline, California Pacific Airlines.
MCAS Miramar is located 13 miles north-east of Lindbergh Field.
On May 29, 2012, a security breach occurred when parolee Marc Duncan walked through an emergency door that led from the baggage claim area of the commuter terminal out to the tarmac. He then boarded a United Express Embraer 120 bound for Los Angeles, but was subsequently removed and arrested after a flight attendant headcount was off. Passengers and baggage on the affected were re-screened and the flight departed two hours later without incident. The airport remained open during the entire event.
A portion of the southeast infield at San Diego International Airport is set aside as a nesting site for the endangered California Least Tern. The least tern nests on three ovals from March through September. The birds lay their eggs in the sand and gravel surface at the southwest end of the airfield. The San Diego Zoological Society monitors the birds from May through September. The terns nest on the airfield because they do not have to compete with beach goers and the airport fence keeps dogs and other animals out, while the airplane activity helps keep predatory hawks away from the nests. Approximately 135 nests were established there in 2007.
The airport is home to a variety of retail shops and restaurants, including Starbucks, Quizno's, Sees Candy, McDonalds, Jamba Juice and California Pizza Kitchen. American Airlines, United and Delta all have lounges available, and there is also a USO center.
There are several well-known pieces of artwork on display at the airport. Inside terminal 2 is a recreation of The Spirit of St. Louis. A popular piece with tourists is At The Gate which depicts comical characters patiently waiting for their planes.
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