|San Francisco International Airport|
|IATA: SFO ICAO: KSFO FAA LID: SFO|
|Owner||San Francisco Airport Commission|
|Location||San Mateo County (unincorporated)|
|Elevation AMSL||13 ft / 4 m|
| and FAA|
San Francisco International Airport (IATA: SFO, ICAO: KSFO, FAA LID: SFO) is a major international airport located 13 miles (21 km) south of downtown San Francisco, California, United States, near the cities of Millbrae and San Bruno in unincorporated San Mateo County. It is often referred to as SFO (from "San FranciscO"). The airport has flights to points throughout North America and is a major gateway to Europe and Asia.
It is the largest airport in the San Francisco Bay Area and the second busiest airport in California after Los Angeles International Airport. In 2009 San Francisco International Airport was the tenth busiest in the United States and the twentieth largest airport in the world, by passenger count. It is the fifth largest hub of United Airlines. It also serves as Virgin America's principal base of operations. It is the sole maintenance hub of United Airlines. SFO has numerous passenger amenities, including a range of food and drink establishments, shopping, baggage storage, public showers, a medical clinic, and assistance for lost or stranded travelers and military personnel. It has the Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library, and permanent and temporary art exhibitions in several places in the terminals. Free Wi-Fi is available to the public in most of the terminal area.
Although located in San Mateo County, SFO is owned by the City and County of San Francisco. SFO Enterprises Inc. was created by the San Francisco Airport Commission to oversee its business purchases and operations of ventures such as owning Honduran airports.
The airport opened on May 7, 1927 on 150 acres (61 ha) of cow pasture. The land was leased from prominent local landowner Ogden L. Mills, (who had leased it from his grandfather Darius O. Mills) and was named Mills Field Municipal Airport. It remained Mills Field until 1931 when it became San Francisco Municipal Airport. "Municipal" was replaced by "International" in 1955.
United Airlines used Mills Field as well as the Oakland Municipal Airport starting in the 1930s. The March 1939 Official Aviation Guide shows 18 airline departures on weekdays seventeen United and one TWA. The aerial view c. 1940 looks west along the runway that is now 28R; the seaplane harbor at right is still recognizable north of the airport. Earlier aerial looking NW 1943 vertical aerial (enlargeable)
In 1954 the airport's Central Passenger Terminal opened. (It was heavily rebuilt into the international terminal c. 1984, then re-rebuilt into present Terminal 2.) The April 1957 Official Airline Guide shows 71 scheduled weekday departures on United (plus ten flights a week to Honolulu), 22 on Western, 19 on Southwest, 12 on TWA, 7 American and 3 PSA. Pan American had 21 departures a week, Japan Air had 5 and QANTAS had 5. Jet flights at SFO began in March 1959, with TWA 707-131s; United built a large maintenance facility at San Francisco for its new Douglas DC-8s. In July 1959 the first jetway bridge was installed, one of the first in the United States.
The first international nonstops were ANA/BCPA DC-4s to Vancouver in 1946-47; the first nonstops to the East Coast were United DC-7s in 1954. TWA's L1649 nonstops to Europe started in 1957 and Pan Am tried to fly 707-320s nonstop Tokyo to SFO starting 1960-61 (the westward nonstops had to await the 707-320B).
In 1989 a master plan and Environmental Impact Report were prepared to guide development over the next two decades.[verification needed] During the boom of the 1990s and the dot-com boom SFO became the sixth busiest airport in the world, but since 2001, when the boom ended, SFO has fallen out of the top twenty.
SFO has expanded continuously through the decades. Most recently a new $1 billion international terminal opened in December 2000, replacing Terminal 2 as the international terminal. This new terminal contains a world-class aviation library and museum. SFOs long-running program of cultural exhibits, now called the San Francisco Airport Museums, won unprecedented accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums in 1999.
A long-planned extension of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system to the airport opened on June 22, 2003, allowing passengers to board trains at the airport's international terminal to San Francisco or points in the East Bay. In 2003, the AirTrain shuttle system opened, transporting passengers between terminals, parking lots, the SFO BART station, and the rental car center on small automatic trains.
SFO experiences significant delays (known as flow control) in adverse weather, when only two of the airport's four runways can be used at a time, due to the lateral separation of only 750 feet (230 m) between centerlines of the parallel pairs of runways. Airport planners have floated proposals to extend the airport's runways further into San Francisco Bay in order to accommodate the large number of arrivals and departures during low-visibility conditions. To expand further into the bay, the airport would be required by law to restore bay land elsewhere in the Bay Area to offset the fill. Such proposals have met resistance from environmental groups, fearing damage to the habitat of animals near the airport, recreational degradation (such as windsurfing) and bay water quality. Such delays (among other reasons) caused some airlines, especially low-cost carriers, to shift service to the other Bay Area airports at Oakland and San Jose.
Since the mid-2000s, recovery at SFO has been evident. SFO has become the base of operations for start-up airline Virgin America, with service to over 15 destinations. In June 2010, Swiss International Airlines began service from San Francisco to Zurich Airport. In July 2012, United Airlines announced resumption of flights to Taipei and Paris. In April 2013 Scandinavian Airlines plans to launch a new non-stop route to Copenhagen. In August 2012, China Eastern Airlines announced non-stop service to Shanghai starting in 2013. SFO set a record of 41 million passengers in 2011, and surpassed it with 44.5 million in 2012.
The FAA has warned that the airport's control tower would be unable to withstand a major earthquake and has requested that it be replaced. On July 9, 2012, a groundbreaking ceremony for the airport's new air traffic control tower took place. The new tower, which will be situated between terminals 1 and 2, is to be shaped like a torch and be completed in fall of 2015.
SFO was one of several US airports which operated the Registered Traveler program from April 2007 until funding ended in June 2009, which had allowed travelers to pass through security checkpoints quickly. Baggage and passenger screening is operated by Covenant Aviation Security, a TSA contractor, nicknamed "Team SFO." SFO was the first airport in the United States to integrate in-line baggage screening into its baggage-handling system and has been a model for other airports in the post-9/11 era.
On July 14, 2008 SFO was voted Best International Airport in North America for 2008 in the World Airports Survey by Skytrax. The following year on June 9, Skytrax announced SFO as the second-best International Airport in North America in the 2009 World Airports Survey, losing to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
During the summer of 2011, Lufthansa & Air France were the only carriers using the Airbus A380 at SFO, albeit seasonally. As of Autumn 2011, only Lufthansa has indicated that it will bring back the A380 as a summer seasonal service. Emirates had indicated that it would like to fly the A380 to SFO when they receive lighter versions of the jumbo jet with more range. Singapore Airlines has announced it will fly the A380 seasonally on the Singapore-Hong Kong-SFO route, which started December 28 and continued until March 24th, where it went back to a Boeing 777-300ER until next December.
SFO was one of the first airports to implement a Fly Quiet Program which grades individual air carriers on their performance on noise abatement procedures while flying in and out of SFO. The Jon C. Long Fly Quiet Program was started by the Aircraft Noise Abatement Office to encourage individual airlines to operate as quietly as possible at SFO. The program promotes a participatory approach in complying with the noise abatement procedures.
SFO was also one of the first U.S. airports to conduct a residential sound abatement retrofitting program. Established by the FAA in the early 1980s, this program evaluated the cost effectiveness of reducing interior sound levels for homes in the vicinity of the airport, or more particularly homes within the 65 CNEL noise contour surface. The program made use of a noise computer model to predict improvement in specific residential interiors for a variety of different noise control strategies. This pilot program was conducted for a neighborhood in the city of South San Francisco, and success was achieved in all of the homes analyzed. The construction costs turned out to be modest, and the post-construction interior sound level tests confirmed the model predictions for noise abatement. To date over $153 million has been spent to insulate in excess of 15,000 homes throughout the neighboring cities of Daly City, Pacifica, San Bruno, and South San Francisco.
The airport has four terminals (1, 2, 3, and International) and seven concourses (A through G) arranged in a ring. Terminal 1 (Boarding Areas B and C), Terminal 2 (Boarding Area D), and Terminal 3 (Boarding Areas E and F) handle domestic flights (including precleared flights from Canada). The International Terminal (Boarding Areas A and G) handle international flights and some domestic flights.
Formerly known as the South Terminal has 33 gates, Terminal 1 has Boarding Area B (including gates 20-23, 24A-24B, 25-31, 32A-32B-32C, 33-35, 36A-36B, 37-39) and Boarding Area C (gates 40-48). A third boarding area, Rotunda A, was demolished in 2007. The first version of the terminal, which cost $14 million, opened in 1963 and Rotunda A opened in 1974. The terminal was designed by Welton Becket and Associates. The terminal underwent a $150 million renovation designed by Howard A. Friedman and Associates, Marquis Associates and Wong & Brocchini that was completed in 1988.
Terminal 2, formerly known as the Central Terminal, opened in 1954 as the main airport terminal. After a drastic rebuilding designed by Gensler, it replaced Rotunda A as SFO's international terminal in 1983 and was closed for indefinite renovation when the current international terminal opened in 2000. Its only concourse is Boarding Area D that has 14 gates (gates 50, 51A, 51B, 52, 53, 54A, 54B, 55, 56A, 56B, 57, 58A, 58B, 59). The control tower and most operations offices were (and still are) located on the upper levels, and the departure and arrival areas served as walkways between Terminal 1 and Terminal 3.
On May 12, 2008, a $383 million renovation project was announced that included a new control tower, the use of green materials, and a seismic retrofit. The newly renovated terminal also designed by Gensler features permanent art installations from Janet Echelman, Kendall Buster, Norie Sato, Charles Sowers, and Walter Kitundu. Terminal 2 set accolades by being the first U.S. airport to achieve LEED Gold status. The terminal reopened on April 14, 2011, with Virgin America and American Airlines sharing the new 14-gate common-use facility.
Formerly known as the North Terminal, Terminal 3 has Boarding Area E (gates 6060A, 61, 62AB, 63, 6464A, 6565A, 6666A, 67) and Boarding Area F has 26 gates (gates 6872, 7373A, 7476, 77A77B, 7886, 8787A, 8890). This $82.44 million terminal designed by San Francisco Airport Architects (a joint venture of John Carl Warneeke and Associates, Dreyfus and Blackford, and minority architects) is now used only by United Airlines. Boarding area F opened in 1979 and area E opened in 1981. Boarding Area E is presently closed for refurbishment, eventually SFO will move the other North American Star Alliance carriers, Air Canada and US Airways to Terminal 3 once Boarding Area E is refurbished by the end of 2013. The project will "move one (1) gate from Terminal 3 on to Boarding Area E to provide a total of ten aircraft parking positions". As part of the airport's FY 2010/11 FY 2014/15 Capital Plan, Terminal 3 will be renovated. This renovation includes architectural enhancements, structural renovations, replacement of HVAC systems, roof repair, and new carpeting.
SFO's international terminal was designed by Craig W. Hartman of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and opened in December 2000 to replace International Departures from Terminal 2. It is the largest international terminal in North America, and is the largest building in the world built on base isolators to protect against earthquakes. Food service focuses on quick service versions of leading Bay Area restaurants, following other SFO terminals. Planners attempted to make the airport a destination in and of itself, not just for travelers that are passing through. The international terminal is a common use facility, with all gates and all ticketing areas shared among the international airlines. All international arrivals and departures are handled here (except flights from cities with customs preclearance). The BART train station is located in this terminal, at the garage leading to Boarding Area G. The SFO Medical Clinic is located next to the security screening area of Boarding Area A. All the gates in this terminal have two jetway bridges with the exception of gates A2 and A10, which have one. Gates A1, A3, and A11 are capable of accommodating two aircraft. Six gates are specifically designed for the Airbus A380, making SFO one of the first airports in the world with such gates when it was constructed in 2000. Gates A9 (9A,9B,9C) and G101 (101A,101B,101C) have three jetways for boarding. Four other gates have two jetways fitted for the A380.
For lack of space, the terminal was constructed on top of the airport's main access road at enormous expense, completing the continuous "ring" of terminals. The terminal required its own elaborate set of ramps to connect it with Highway 101. The design and construction of the international terminal is owed to Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Del Campo & Maru Architects, Michael Willis Associates (main terminal building), Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (Boarding Area G), and Gerson/Overstreet Architects (Boarding Area A). The contracts were awarded after an architectural design competition. If all gates in an airlines' designated international boarding area are full, passengers will board or deplane from the opposite international boarding area.
All SkyTeam, Oneworld and non-aligned international carriers aside from EVA Air operate from Boarding Area A (gates A1A10, A11A11A, A12). TACA Airlines, Asiana, and Air Canada are the only Star Alliance carriers that use Boarding Area A. EVA Air is the non-aligned carrier not using Boarding Area A.
All international Star Alliance members aside from Air Canada (some flights), Asiana, and TACA use Boarding Area G (gates G91, G92G92A, G93G98, G99G99A, G100, G101G101A, G102), as well as non-aligned EVA Air. In 2010, some United domestic flights now utilize the Area G, as shown in the table below.
|Air Canada||Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver
|I-A, I-G, 3-E (from late 2013)|
|Air France||Paris-Charles de Gaulle||I-A|
|Air New Zealand||Auckland||I-G|
operated by Southwest Airlines
|Atlanta, Orange County||1-B|
|Alaska Airlines||Palm Springs, Portland (OR), Puerto Vallarta, San José del Cabo, Seattle/Tacoma||1-B|
operated by Horizon Air
|All Nippon Airways||Tokyo-Narita||I-G|
|American Airlines||Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York-JFK||2-D|
|Asiana Airlines||Seoul-Incheon||I-A, I-G|
|Cathay Pacific||Hong Kong||I-A|
|China Eastern Airlines||Shanghai-Pudong (resumes April 26, 2013)||I-A|
|Delta Air Lines||Tokyo-Narita||I-A|
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK, Salt Lake City||1-C|
operated by SkyWest Airlines
|Los Angeles, Salt Lake City||1-C|
|JetBlue Airways||Austin, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Long Beach, New York-JFK||I-A|
|Singapore Airlines||Hong Kong, Seoul-Incheon, Singapore||I-G|
|Southwest Airlines||Atlanta, Chicago-Midway, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Orange County, Phoenix, San Diego||1-B|
|Sun Country Airlines||Minneapolis/St. Paul||I-A|
|Swiss International Air Lines||Zürich||I-G|
|TACA Airlines||San Salvador||I-A|
|United Airlines||Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago-O'Hare, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Honolulu, Houston-Intercontinental, Kahului, Kailua-Kona, Las Vegas, Lihue, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New Orleans, New York-JFK, Newark, Orange County, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland (OR), Raleigh/Durham, Reno/Tahoe, San Diego, St. Louis, Seattle/Tacoma, Vancouver, Washington-Dulles, Washington-National
Seasonal: Anchorage, Salt Lake City
|1-B, 3-E (from Late 2013), 3-F, I-G|
|United Airlines||Beijing-Capital, Cancún, Frankfurt, Guadalajara, Hong Kong, London-Heathrow, Mexico City, Osaka-Kansai, Paris-Charles de Gaulle (begins April 26, 2013), Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong, Sydney, Taipei-Taoyuan (resumes March 31, 2014), Tokyo-Narita
Seasonal: Puerto Vallarta, San José del Cabo
operated by SkyWest Airlines
|Albuquerque, Austin, Bakersfield, Boise, Calgary, Chico, Colorado Springs, Crescent City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Edmonton, Eugene, Eureka/Arcata, Fresno, Idaho Falls, Kansas City, Klamath Falls, Medford, Modesto, Monterey, North Bend, Oklahoma City, Palm Springs, Pasco, Phoenix, Portland (OR), Redding, Redmond/Bend, Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Seattle/Tacoma, Spokane, Tucson, Vancouver, Victoria
Seasonal: Aspen, Bozeman, Jackson Hole, Mammoth Lakes, Missoula
|1-B, 3-E (from Late 2013), 3-F|
|US Airways||Charlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix||1-B, 3-E (from late 2013)|
|Virgin America||Austin (begins May 21, 2013), Boston, Cancún, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York-JFK, Newark, Orlando (ends July 16, 2013), Philadelphia, Portland (OR), Puerto Vallarta, San Diego, San José del Cabo, Seattle/Tacoma, Washington-Dulles, Washington-National
Seasonal: Anchorage (begins June 6, 2013), Palm Springs
|Virgin Atlantic Airways||London-Heathrow||I-A|
|WestJet||Seasonal: Calgary, Vancouver||I-A|
|XL Airways France||Seasonal: Paris-Charles de Gaulle||I-A|
|1||London (Heathrow), United Kingdom||901,959||7.2%||British Airways, United, Virgin Atlantic|
|2||Hong Kong, Hong Kong||887,658||1.6%||Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, United|
|3||Seoul (Incheon), South Korea||646,891||11.3%||Asiana, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, United|
|4||Frankfurt, Germany||595,306||10.7%||Lufthansa, United|
|5||Tokyo (Narita), Japan||546,837||22.4%||All Nippon Airways, Delta, United|
|1||Los Angeles, California||1,716,000||American, Delta, Southwest, United, Virgin America|
|2||Chicago (O'Hare), Illinois||1,126,000||American, United, Virgin America|
|3||New York (JFK), New York||1,116,000||American, Delta, JetBlue, United, Virgin America|
|4||Las Vegas, Nevada||855,000||Southwest, United, Virgin America|
|5||Denver, Colorado||791,000||Frontier, Southwest, United|
|6||Seattle, Washington||755,000||Alaska, United, Virgin America|
|7||Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas||738,000||American, United, Virgin America|
|8||San Diego, California||733,000||Southwest, United, Virgin America|
|9||Washington (Dulles), DC||619,000||United, Virgin America|
|10||Boston, Massachusetts||556,000||JetBlue, United, Virgin America|
|Year||Rank||Passengers||Change||Aircraft Movements||Cargo (Metric Tons)|
|ABX Air||Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Los Angeles|
|Air France Cargo||Paris-Charles de Gaulle|
|British Airways World Cargo||Hong Kong, London-Heathrow|
|Cathay Pacific Cargo||Anchorage, Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston-Intercontinental, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Vancouver|
|China Airlines Cargo||Anchorage, Boston, Los Angeles, Taipei-Taoyuan|
|DHL Aviation||Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Los Angeles|
|EVA Air Cargo||Anchorage, Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Taipei-Taoyuan|
|Korean Air Cargo||Miami, Seoul-Incheon|
|Lufthansa Cargo||Frankfurt, Los Angeles|
|Nippon Cargo Airlines||Tokyo-Narita|
|Polar Air Cargo||Anchorage, Chicago-O'Hare, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York-JFK, Seoul-Incheon|
|Singapore Airlines Cargo||Singapore|
|Southern Air||Anchorage, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Seoul-Incheon|
|World Airways||Baltimore, Boston, Los Angeles, Seoul-Incheon|
AirTrain is the airport's people-mover system. Fully automated and free of charge, it connects all four terminals, the two international terminal garages, the BART station, and the airport's Rental Car Center.
The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) BART station, located in Parking Garage G of the International Terminal, is the only direct rail link between the airport, the city of San Francisco, and the general Bay Area. As of September 14, 2009, the SFO station is served by the Pittsburg/Bay Point SFO/Millbrae line.
BART is SFO's connection to Caltrain at the Millbrae Station, which requires a transfer at the San Bruno station during most of BART's weekday operating hours; direct service between SFO and Millbrae is available on weekday evenings, weekends, and holidays. Caltrain used to offer a free shuttle to SFO airport from the Millbrae station, but it was replaced by the priced BART service when the BART SFO extension was completed. Alternatively, SamTrans buses (see below) provide cheaper connections (compared to BART) to various Caltrain stations.
The San Francisco Municipal Railway, San Francisco's transit agency, does not provide service to the airport. However, SamTrans, San Mateo County's transit agency, does, with three lines, 292, 397, and KX, connecting Terminal 2, Terminal 3, and the International Terminal to Downtown San Francisco and the Peninsula down to Palo Alto. SamTrans Route 292 and Route KX serve the Airport during morning, daytime, and evening hours while Route 397 serves the Airport during nighttime hours as a part of the SamTrans "All Nighter" service.
Numerous door-to-door van, airporter, limousine, hotel courtesy, and charter operators service the airport. Taxis, along with the aforementioned services, stop at the center island transportation island on the arrivals/baggage claim level of the airport.
The airport is located on U.S. Route 101, 13 miles (21 km) south of downtown San Francisco. It is near the US 101 interchange with Interstate 380, a short freeway that connects US 101 with Interstate 280.
The airport provides both short-term and long-term parking facilities.
Short term parking is located in the central terminal area and two international terminal garages. Long term parking is located on South Airport Blvd. and San Bruno Ave. and are served by shuttle buses.
Passengers can also park long-term at a select number of BART stations that have parking lots, with a permit purchased online in advance.
Taxis depart from designated taxi zones located at the roadway center islands, on the Arrivals/Baggage Claim Level of all terminals.
Prior to its dissolution, Pacific Air Lines had its corporate headquarters on the grounds of the airport. Prior to its dissolution, Hughes Airwest also had its headquarters on the grounds of San Francisco International.
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