|San Diego International Airport
|Owner/Operator||San Diego County Regional Airport Authority|
|Serves||Greater San Diego|
|Location||North Harbor Drive
San Diego, California
|Focus city for|
|Elevation AMSL||17 ft / 5 m|
FAA airport diagram
San Diego International Airport (IATA: SAN, ICAO: KSAN, FAA LID: SAN), formerly known as Lindbergh Field, is an international airport 3 mi (4.8 km) northwest of downtown San Diego, California, United States. It is operated by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.
In 2015, traffic at San Diego International exceeded 20 million passengers. The airport had more than 500 scheduled operations carrying about 50,000 passengers each day. The airport has domestic flights and also has nonstop international flights to Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Japan. Nonstop service to Germany and Switzerland is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2017.
San Diego is the largest metropolitan area in the United States that is not an airline hub or secondary hub; however, San Diego is a focus city for Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines. The top five carriers in San Diego during 2015, by seat capacity, are Southwest Airlines (42.7%), American Airlines (14.0%), United Airlines (11.2%), Alaska Airlines (10.1%), and Delta Air Lines (9.9%).
The airport is near the site of the 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 flight and excited to have made his plane, the city of San Diego passed a bond issue in 1928 for the construction of a two-runway municipal airport. Lindbergh encouraged the building of the airport and agreed to lend his name to it. The new airport, dedicated on August 16, 1928, was San Diego Municipal Airport Lindbergh Field.
The airport was the first federally certified airfield to serve all aircraft types, including seaplanes. The original terminal was on the northeast side of the field, on Pacific Highway. The airport was also 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 started. The airport gained 'international airport' status in 1934, and a United States Coast Guard Air Base next to the field was commissioned in April 1937. The Coast Guard's fixed-wing aircraft used Lindbergh Field until the mid-1990s when the fixed-wing aircraft were retired.
A major defense contractor and contributor to World War II heavy bomber production, Consolidated Aircraft, later known as Convair, had their headquarters on the border of Lindbergh Field, and built many of their military aircraft there. Convair used the airport for test and delivery flights from 1935 to 1995.
The Army Air Corps took over the field in 1942, improving it to handle the heavy bombers being manufactured in the region. Two camps were established at the airport during World War II and were named Camp Consair and Camp Sahara. This transformation, including an 8,750 ft (2,670 m) runway, made the airport "jet-ready' long before jet airliners came into service. The May 1952 C&GS chart shows 8700-ft runway 9 and 4500-ft runway 13.
Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) established its headquarters in San Diego and started service at Lindbergh Field in 1949. The April 1957 Official Airline Guide shows 42 departures per day: 14 American, 13 United, 6 Western, 6 Bonanza, and 3 PSA (5 PSA on Friday and Sunday). American had a nonstop flight to Dallas and one to El Paso; aside from that, nonstop flights did not reach beyond California and Arizona. Nonstop flights to Chicago started in 1962 and to New York in 1967.
The original terminal was on the north side of the airport and was used until the 1960s; the current Terminal 1 opened on the south side of the airport on March 5, 1967. Terminal 2 opened on July 11, 1979. These terminals were designed by Paderewski Dean & Associates. A third terminal, dubbed the Commuter Terminal, opened July 23, 1996. Terminal 2 was expanded by 300,000 square feet (27,871 m2) in 1998, and opened on January 7, 1998. The expanded Terminal 2 and the Commuter Terminal were designed by Gensler and SGPA Architecture and Planning. As downtown San Diego developed, the airport's 3600-ft second runway was closed as its short length provided no operational benefits other than to support the smallest of aircraft.
The airport was originally built and operated by the City of San Diego through the sale of municipal bonds to be repaid by airport users. In 1962 it was transferred to the San Diego Unified Port District by a state law. The airport is now operated by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.
San Diego International Airport's expansion and enhancement program for Terminal 2 was dubbed "The Green Build". Additions include 10 gates on the west side of Terminal 2 West, a two-level roadway separating arriving and departing passengers, additional security lanes, and an expanded concession area. It was completed in August 13, 2013 and cost $900 million. In January 2016 the airport opened a new consolidated rental car facility on the north side of the airport. The $316 million, 2 million square foot facility houses 14 rental car companies and is served by shuttle buses to and from the terminals. A new three-story parking structure in front of Terminal 2 was launched in July 2016 and is expected to be completed by 2018.
The Airport Development Plan (ADP) is the next master-planning phase for San Diego International Airport. In 2006, a county-wide ballot measure to move the airport was defeated. Therefore, the airport will continue in its current location for the foreseeable future. The ADP identifies improvements that will enable the airport to meet demand through 2035, which is approximately when projected passenger activity levels will reach capacity for the airports single runway. An additional runway is not being considered.
In a broad sense, the ADP envisions the replacement of Terminal 1 and other related improvements. As a first step in the ADP, several potential concepts were developed. These concepts represented the first step in a comprehensive planning process.
Extensive public outreach was conducted to obtain input from residents and airport stakeholders in the San Diego region. The Airport Authority Board eventually selected a preferred alternative and a detailed environmental analysis is now under way. The environmental review and planning process is expected to conclude in spring 2017.
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 that included a joint use proposal measure.
Multiple 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 revisiting of a study done in the 1980s by the City in 1994 when NAS Miramar closed as a naval air station and was then immediately transferred to the Marine Corps as a marine corps air station, MCAS Miramar. 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.
Three professors from UCSD, Fred Spiess, PhD, former director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Walter Munk, PhD, Secretary of the Navy/Chief of Naval Operations Chair for Scripps Institute of Oceanography and Frieder Seible, PhD, former dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering, proposed building a floating airport in deep water west of the end of Interstate 8 in Ocean Beach. Their plan would use Lindbergh Field terminals and parking facilities for passenger ticketing and security then whisk them by tram via Interstate 8 and an 'Archimedes bridge' to the floating airport, a trip of perhaps 15 minutes at 60 mph. Several groups have approached the Airport Board for sponsorship to apply for federal funds to develop the plan, but the proposal has never been given serious consideration. Now, the advent of 3D concrete printing and special polymerized, fiber-reinforced concrete mixesan efficient method of constructionmay make this proposal less expensive than building a new airport on land.
In 2013, graduate business students at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) Fully Employed MBA (FEMBA) program released several studies around a new proposed international airport in San Diego County. The first group of studies are known as San Diego Airport Exploratory Study 1.0. Qualcomm sponsored the CSUSM airport exploratory studies. The research project examined several topics: Demand Projections, Economic Implications, Infrastructure, Traffic & Transportation, Political Implications and Potential Demographic Changes. The study discussed the political implications of developing a new international airport at three different locations: Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Campo/Boulevard and Marine Corp Base Camp Pendleton. The CSUSM airport studies build upon the Ricondo & Associates Consulting Group 2006 report that evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of building an airport at each of these sites. The San Diego Airport Exploratory Study 1.0 determined the only feasible location would be on the southern edge of Camp Pendleton  at the existing Munn Field air strip. The location is on approximately 5000 acres, comprising 4% of the total land at Camp Pendleton.
In 2014 and 2015, Qualcomm sponsored further studies known as San Diego Airport Exploratory Study 2.0  and San Diego Airport Exploratory Study 2.1. The studies have generated media attention in local newspapers, KPBS radio  and news stations such as KUSI Channel 9. On December 9, 2015, students presented the San Diego Airport Exploratory Study 2.1 report at California State University San Marcos. Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs and real estate investor Malin Burnham were among those in attendance at the presentation.
The airport has nearly completed a substantial expansion of concessions. 73 new shops and food and beverage locations have opened throughout the terminals. Three airline lounges are located in the airport in Terminal 2: Delta SkyClub, United Club, and a joint Airspace Lounge/American Airlines Admirals Club.
Until 2015, major rental cars companies operated out of ground-level facilities across Harbor Drive from the airport, with each company operating its own shuttle. Other companies were located on private property near the airport. In January 2016 the airport opened a consolidated rental car facility on the north side of the airport, withhousing 14 rental car agencies with capacity for 19. An on-airport shuttle bus service transports passengers to and from the airport. The same shuttle bus also serves passengers from off-site rental car companies, and is intended to carry passengers from a nearby trolley stop as well.
San Diego International Airport has two terminals:
There are several well-known pieces of art on display at the airport. Inside Terminal 2 is a recreation of The Spirit of St. Louis. "At the Gate", a popular piece with tourists, depicts comical characters patiently waiting for their planes. Terminal 2 also features "The Spirit of Silence, a meditation room designed by public artist Norie Sato.
|Air Canada Express||Vancouver||2|
|Air Canada Rouge||TorontoPearson||2|
|Alaska Airlines||Baltimore (begins March 15, 2017), Boston, Honolulu, Kahului, KailuaKona, Lihue, Newark, Orlando, Portland (OR), Puerto Vallarta, Salt Lake City, San José del Cabo, Seattle/Tacoma||1|
operated by Horizon Air
|Monterey, Santa Rosa
Seasonal: Fresno, Mammoth Lakes
operated by SkyWest Airlines
|Boise, Fresno, Salt Lake City, Sacramento (begins March 16, 2017), San Jose (CA)
Seasonal: Hayden/Steamboat Springs
|Allegiant Air||Bellingham, El Paso, Provo, Stockton||2|
|American Airlines||Charlotte, ChicagoO'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, New YorkJFK, Philadelphia, PhoenixSky Harbor||2|
|American Eagle||Los Angeles||2|
|Condor||Seasonal: Frankfurt (begins May 1, 2017)||2|
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New YorkJFK, Salt Lake City, Seattle/Tacoma
Seasonal: San José del Cabo
|Delta Connection||Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Seattle/Tacoma||2|
|Edelweiss Air||Seasonal: Zürich (begins June 9, 2017)||2|
|Frontier Airlines||Denver, Orlando||1|
|JetBlue Airways||Boston, Fort Lauderdale, New YorkJFK||2|
|Southwest Airlines||Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boise (begins June 4, 2017), ChicagoMidway, DallasLove, Denver, HoustonHobby, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Orleans, Oakland, Orlando, PhoenixSky Harbor, Portland (OR), Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), Salt Lake City (begins June 4, 2017), Seattle/Tacoma, St. Louis, Tucson
Seasonal: Indianapolis (begins June 4, 2017), Newark (begins June 4, 2017), Spokane (begins June 4, 2017)
|Spirit Airlines||ChicagoO'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, HoustonIntercontinental, Las Vegas, San José del Cabo
Seasonal: Baltimore (begins May 25, 2017)
|Sun Country Airlines||Minneapolis/St. Paul||2|
|United Airlines||ChicagoO'Hare, Denver, HoustonIntercontinental, Newark, San Francisco, WashingtonDulles||2|
|United Express||Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco||2|
|Virgin America||San Francisco||2|
operated by Atlas Air
|Cincinnati, PhoenixSky Harbor|
|FedEx Express||Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, Oakland, Ontario|
|UPS Airlines||Honolulu, Louisville|
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Landmark Aviation is the fixed-base operator (FBO) at San Diego International Airport. Landmark services all aircraft ranging from the single-engine Cessna aircraft to the four-engine Boeing 747. Generally, it service s corporate traffic to the airport. The FBO ramp is located at the northeast end of the airfield. Landmark Aviation used to be known as Jimsair Aviation Services. Jimsair was the FBO at the airport for 55 years, until July 2008, when it was purchased by Landmark Aviation.
|1||San Francisco, California||829,000||Southwest, United, Virgin America|
|3||Denver, Colorado||611,000||Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, United|
|3||PhoenixSky Harbor, Arizona||605,000||American, Southwest, US Airways|
|4||Seattle/Tacoma, Washington||538,000||Alaska, Delta, Southwest|
|5||Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas||531,000||American, Spirit|
|6||Las Vegas, Nevada||486,000||Southwest, Spirit|
|7||ChicagoO'Hare, Illinois||469,000||American, Spirit, United|
|8||Atlanta, Georgia||410,000||Delta, Southwest|
|10||San José, California||371,000||Alaska, Southwest|
|1||San José del Cabo, Mexico||230,728||Alaska, Spirit|
|2||London (Heathrow), United Kingdom||167,614||British Airways|
|3||Tokyo (Narita), Japan||108,455||Japan Airlines|
|4||Toronto (Pearson), Canada||74,719||Air Canada Rouge|
|6||Mexico City, Mexico||42,681||Volaris|
The airport consists of a single runway designated runway 9/27 for its magnetic compass headings of 095 degrees (106 True) and 275 degrees (286 True) orienting it directly east and west in relation to magnetic north. The runway is an asphalt and concrete design with dimensions of 9,401 feet (2,865 m) x 200 feet (61 m). A displaced threshold exists in both directions. For runway 27 the first 1,810 feet (550 m) are displaced and for runway 9 the first 1,000 feet (300 m) are displaced.
The approach from the east is steeper than most because the terrain drops from 266 ft (81 m) to sea level in less than one nautical mile. The runway is west of a hill 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 in the 1980s long after previous obstructions were built up east of I-5 and does not affect the approach.
Landing at the airport from the east offers closeup views of skyscrapers, Petco Park (home of the San Diego Padres), the San Diego Bay, and the San DiegoCoronado Bridge from the left side of the aircraft. On the right, Balboa Park, site of the 19151916 Panama-California Exposition, can be seen.
Runway 27 (landing east to west), is a localizer and RNP approach with minimums down to 1 1/2 mile. For Runway 9, the visibility is 3/4 mile. When visibility gets below 1 1/2-miles, it forces arriving aircraft to use Runway 9 (landing west to east), which has better landing minimums. The terrain east of the airport often imposes weight limits on many departing aircraft. As a result, some aircraft must take off to the west. While safe, these "head to head" operations slow the flow of aircraft for sequencing and create delays in the air and on the ground.
Terrain east and west of the airport greatly impacts the available runway length. Runway 27 (heading west) has a climb gradient of 353 ft/nmi (58.1 m/km) feet per nautical mile. Taking off to the east requires a 610 ft/nmi (100 m/km) climb rate.
San Diego International Airport 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).
SAN is in a 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 6:30 a.m., these times are pushback times; the first takeoff roll is at 6:30 a.m.
As of September, 2016, San Diego International Airport is served by 17 passenger airlines and five cargo airlines that fly nonstop to 57 destinations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, and Japan. Several carriers including Alaska, Southwest, and Spirit have increased their flights to and from San Diego. Flights between SAN and Los Cabos (Mexico), Dallas, Portland, Boston, Washington D.C./Baltimore, Burbank, and Tokyo were added in 2014; however, Burbank has since been discontinued.
British Airways resumed nonstop service to London Heathrow Airport on June 1, 2011 with a Boeing 777-200ER. The airline had dropped this route in October 2003, after the worldwide downturn in aviation after the September 11 attacks in 2001. The airline had been flying nonstop to London Heathrow (previously London Gatwick on its 777-200s); however, the route had originally been flown from Gatwick via Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on a Boeing 747-400. After the September 11 attacks, the route was reduced to six days a week, then five, and then cancelled. In June 2010 the European Union approved the new Atlantic Joint Business Agreement 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 Airlines, British Airways, or Japan Airlines flight. On March 27, 2016, British Airways changed the aircraft on this flight from the 3-class 777-200 to the 4-class 777-300, increasing passenger and cargo capacity, and to provide first class seats. But in November 2015 British Airways announced that it would fly its Boeing 747-400 on the London-San Diego route. The last time it flew the 747-400 into this city was in 2003 via Phoenix Sky Harbor (which then continued onto Gatwick, not Heathrow).
Japan Airlines began service to Tokyo-Narita on December 2, 2012, using the Boeing 787 aircraft. This is the airport's first nonstop flight to Asia. The flights used the 787 until its grounding when service was temporarily replaced with a 777-200ER. The last 777 flight was May 31, 2013. On June 1, 2013, 787 service resumed, this time daily. This route is covered under the Pacific Joint Business Agreement between Oneworld partners Japan Airlines and American Airlines.
On Thursday, June 9, 2016, Condor Flugdienst Airlines announced thrice-weekly seasonal service from Frankfurt am Main International Airport to San Diego, with Monday flights beginning May 1, 2017, through October 2, 2017, Thursday flights beginning May 4, 2017, through October 5, 2017, and Saturday flights beginning July 8, 2017, through September 2, 2017. Flights will be on a Boeing 767-300 aircraft. Similarly, on June 21, 2016, Edelweiss Air announced twice-weekly seasonal service from Zürich Airport, beginning Monday, June 9, 2017, with the second flight of the week on Fridays. Flights will be on an Airbus A340-300 aircraft.
The busiest route by flight count is to Los Angeles with 25 daily round trips on United Express, American Eagle, and Delta Connection. The busiest route by available seats per day is to San Francisco with just over 2,816 seats on 21 daily 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 was 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, 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."
There are three public transportation options:
San Diego International Airport is testing a new system of airfield lights called Runway Status Lights (RWSL) for the FAA. It 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 constructing 10 new gates for Terminal 2 West.
Because of the airport's close proximity to downtown San Diego, FAA regulations do not allow any building within a 1.5 mile radius of the runway to be taller than 500 feet.
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) air station is in the southeast corner of the airfield. The installation originally supported fixed-wing seaplane operations, with seaplane ramps into the bay, and land-based fixed-wing aircraft and rotary-wing operations.
The air station is separated from the rest of the airfield, so USCG fixed-wing aircraft must cross North Harbor Drive, a busy, 6-lane city street, to reach the runway. Streetlight 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 the station.
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.
Two cantonment areas, Camps Consair and Sahara, were constructed to house troops attending factory schools and other Army activities located at the airport.
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