What is the New T1?
The centerpiece of the New T1 is the replacement of the 54-year-old Terminal 1 with an attractive, modern, and more efficient facility with up to 30 gates (currently 19 gates). In addition, the New T1 includes airfield enhancements and major improvements to roadways serving the airport that will help reduce traffic congestion.
The New T1 also includes a designated transit station area within walking distance of the New T1 and existing Terminal 2 that could accommodate any type of transit technology approved by SANDAG, MTS, and other regional partner agencies to connect to the airport. These options are currently being evaluated.
Why is the New T1 needed?
The New T1 is needed to meet the demand for air travel in the San Diego region through the foreseeable future. San Diego International Airport (SAN) served more than 25 million passengers in 2019. The number of passengers at the airport is projected to increase to 39 million by 2035. The Terminal 1 replacement and related improvements will optimize the airport site to accommodate growth while maintaining high levels of passenger satisfaction.
What determines SAN’s peak capacity?
Ultimately, the single runway, not the terminals, will determine SAN’s peak capacity. The runway can only handle so many flights each day. A new terminal, envisioned as part of the New T1, will allow for visitors to and from San Diego to have the best possible customer experience through the airport, but the New T1 ultimately doesn’t impact flight capacity.
Who is spearheading the New T1?
The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, which was created in 2003 to manage the day-to-day operations of San Diego International Airport and address the region’s long-term air transportation needs, is leading the New T1 process. However, the overall plan is designed to meet the needs of everyone.
The Airport Authority engaged both technical and community stakeholders to obtain input throughout the New T1 development and implementation process, including airlines and regional agencies.
The Airport Authority is working closely with SANDAG and other regional agencies to assist in their efforts to determine the best transit solution for carrying people to the airport. The Airport Authority has pledged to help implement whatever transit project is identified by SANDAG and regional partners.
What are the primary components of the New T1?
Terminal 1 replacement: Up to 30 gates, including gate-area seating, restaurants, and shops, as well as security checkpoints.
New three-lane on-airport entry roadway: Allows airport-bound drivers to merge from Laurel and North Harbor Drive onto a three-lane, free-flow roadway without intersections. This will remove airport-bound traffic from westbound North Harbor Drive, reducing congestion and allowing the existing right of way on North Harbor Drive to be used for potential transit improvements and roadway reconfiguration.
Designated transit-ready area: Dedicated location for a future transit station that will connect to a regional transit connection and convey passengers within easy walking distance of the terminals.
Dual-level roadway and curb front: separate arriving and departing passenger traffic with an elevated departures roadway and curbside check-in.
Convenient parking: A state-of-the-art parking plaza that will provide close-in parking and minimize walking distances. The parking plaza will replace surface parking lots and provide up to 5,500 parking spaces. All in all, the New T1 will result in a net increase of 650 parking spaces airport-wide.
Airfield improvements: To enhance aircraft traffic flow and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
What sustainable design features are included in the New T1?
Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at SAN. The New T1 construction and design will reflect our industry-leading commitment to sustainability through energy and water conservation, as well as clean-air and zero-waste initiatives. Our goal is to achieve LEED Gold certification for the New T1.
The New T1 sustainability features will include it being powered by 100 percent carbon-free electricity, charging for more than 250 electric vehicles (EV) with an additional 250 EV-ready spaces, and an all-electric shuttle service to/from Old Town Transit Center. A multi-use path along North Harbor Drive for bicyclists and pedestrians and more than 300 bicycle parking spaces. Airfield improvements to reduce emissions and aircraft delays and a resilient design to address future sea-level rise conditions. An underground fuel-delivery system to eliminate the need for aircraft fueling trucks and expanded stormwater capture and reuse system, including a 1.5-million-gallon underground cistern. These initiatives are in alignment with the City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan.
How much will the project cost and how will it be funded?
The total New T1 project budget is $3.4 billion and is being funded by a 10-year airline operating and lease agreement with airline partners. The Airport Authority anticipates receiving more than $130 million in federal formula grants for capital improvement projects. With the New T1, the Airport Authority is well-positioned (but not guaranteed) to receive funds under the infrastructure bill’s terminal projects competitive grant program, which allocates $1 billion for each of the five years to terminal projects across the country. This project will directly benefit from the funds being made available.
What is the project’s status and timeline?
Construction started on November 1, 2021. The first building to be completed will be the new Administration Building for San Diego County Regional Airport Authority employees in late 2023. The current Terminal 1 will remain operational until the first phase of the New T1 is opened in mid-2025. Once Phase 1A is completed, the current Terminal 1 will be demolished and the rest of the New T1 construction will continue. Phase 1B is anticipated to be completed in late 2027 and would mark the completion of the new Terminal 1. The earliest completion date for airside improvements is mid-2028.
What is the environmental review process?
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires agencies to complete a comprehensive study of all impacts to the environment associated with projects such as the New T1. The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is an objective, the full-disclosure report meant to inform the public about possible impacts to a range of resource areas and seek input on mitigation to reduce those impacts. Some of the resource areas analyzed include air quality, greenhouse gases and climate change, water quality, traffic and circulation, and noise. The New T1 underwent a federal environmental review by the FAA under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Airport Authority has obtained Coastal Development Permits from the California Coastal Commission for the project.
What are some of the features planned for the New T1?
The New T1 will have a memorable presence for those living in or visiting San Diego. Some of the features include an outdoor patio area post-security providing views of San Diego Bay, a designated children’s play area, up to two airline or common-use lounges/clubs, and art pieces located throughout the terminal to serve as wayfinding.