Airport planners on Friday outlined initial concepts for what they expect will be the last major expansion of the San Diego International Airport, replacing Terminal 1 and adding 10 gates to handle 10 million more passengers annually.
“This is a project that will take this airport to the end of the capacity of this runway by 2035,” said Keith Wilschetz, director of airport planning.
Wilschetz said the airport staff is seeking input from the community now in preparation for developing a plan to present to the San Diego County Airport Authority board later this year or early next. He said environmental review of the plan would take up to two years, and work could start in 2016.
The concepts being studied all include 10 more gates, new parking decks, a new roadway separate from Harbor Drive to handle traffic, a bridge from the closest trolley station, additional overnight aircraft parking and demolition of both Terminal 1 and the Commuter Terminal. The new gates would increase the airport’s capacity to handle international flights.
“The 787 has opened up a whole new set of routes for us and we want to capitalize on that,” Wilschetz said, referring to Boeing’s long-range jetliner that is already flying from San Diego to Tokyo.
The plan does not include a second runway or an expansion of the existing one. All of the work would take place on the airport’s current land.
Wilschetz said no cost estimates are available at this early stage, but noted that the airport is funded through its own revenue and does not rely on tax dollars.
The new project follows the Green Build, completed last August, which added 10 new gates and additional aircraft parking. A new rental car facility is currently under construction on north side.
The new project would increase the airport’s capacity to 28 million passengers per year from the current 18 million. Asked what happens after full capacity of the single runway is reached in 2035, Wilschetz said the San Diego community will have to decide the next step.
“This airport isn’t going to go away. It’s just at that point, future growth is going to be very difficult to accommodate here, ” he said.
A public open house to discuss the plan and its options is schedule for June 12 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the commuter terminal.
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