The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has provided San Diego County Regional Airport Authority with a Letter of Intent to award the San Diego International Airport (SAN) funding for up to US$110 million.
The total amount of US$110 million in funds will be available to the airport authority through FAA grants over a ten-year period and will be used for airfield improvements as part of the new Terminal 1 program, said SAN authorities in a statement.
San Diego airport is currently constructing a new T1 that will replace the current Terminal 1 “with a modern and efficient facility that will improve the airport experience and complete the transformation of San Diego’s air transportation gateway.” It is expected the new T1 to be fully ready by 2028. The first phase of the new project is set to be completed in 2025.
The grant will help pay for a series of airfield improvements, including new, redesigned taxiways and additional aircraft parking spots that will help reduce aircraft taxiing times and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Kimberly Becker, airport authority president and CEO, said,
“The FAA’s investment helps SAN and our passengers by allowing for more efficient operations from the minute they arrive to the minute they depart. The Airport Authority team was able to demonstrate to the FAA that the airfield improvements project will provide significant enhancements and allow us to continue serving the region’s air service needs. We appreciate the support of the FAA.”
The FAA awarded San Diego Airport with funding for up to US$110 million. Photo: San Diego Airport.
The new T1
Earlier this year, the FAA awarded SAN US$24 million in discretionary grant funds as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. That amount is being used to continue the construction of the T1 as well.
Construction on the new Terminal 1 at San Diego International began on November 1, 2021. The project has a budget of US$3.4 billion to replace the current T1, which dates back to 1967. Airlines such as Southwest Airlines (SAN’s leading operator), Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, Spirit, Lufthansa, and British Airways, among other carriers, will benefit from the new Terminal.
The New T1 has three main components: Terminals & Roadways, Airside Improvements, and a new Administration Building, which will be the first to be completed, with an anticipated opening date in late 2023. A new T1 Parking Plaza is scheduled to open in late 2024.
The Terminal & Roadways component will be completed in phases. First phase will include 19 gates, an elevated departures roadway, outdoor check-in pavilions, a dedicated, on-airport arrivals roadway, and a five-story parking plaza. San Diego expects the opening for the first phase by mid-2025. The second phase will add 11 gates for a total of 30 gates. The earliest opening for the second phase is in late 2027.
San Diego in 2022
As of July 2022, San Diego Airport has received 12.2 million passengers, a 60.5% growth compared to 2021, but still 15.8% below the traffic numbers of 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Southwest Airlines remains the top carrier in the airport, with a 39.9% seat share, followed by Alaska (15.5%), United (11.3%), and Delta (10.7%).
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