San Diego International Airport (SAN) this week took a major step toward replacing the airport’s current Terminal 1 with a new 30-gate facility that could begin opening as soon as 2024, following a unanimous vote by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Board of Directors to certify the Final Environmental Impact Report.
“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,” April Boling, Airport Authority Board chairman said following the vote. “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 will feature 30 gates, with 19 gates set to open in 2024 and the remaining 11 by 2026. It will also feature additional security checkpoints with more lanes, more gate-area seating and new restaurants and shops.
Plans also include a new interior passageway connecting the new terminal to the existing Terminal 2 East that would enable passengers to access all of the airport’s 61 gates post-security without having to be re-screened.
Groundbreaking on the new terminal is expected to begin next year.
The Airport Development Plan would also include numerous roadway and transportation improvements to ease access to the airport, including a proposed on-airport entry road would remove an estimated 45,000 cars per day from Harbor Drive, which runs adjacent to SAN.
An area near the airport would be preserved for a future transit station that would connect to a regional transit extension and convey passengers within easy walking distance of existing Terminal 2 and the proposed new Terminal 1.
SAN 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 airport served 25 million passengers in 2019 and that number is expected to grow to more than 39 million passengers annually by 2035. The SAN capacity for carrying passengers is limited by its single runway, but the new Taxiway A and other airfield upgrades are expected to improve efficiency and help reduce aircraft taxiing times.
The airport authority notes the next steps for the project include federal environmental review and consideration of a Coastal Development permit by the California Coastal Commission.