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Big Plans for San Diego's Lindbergh Field

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Big Plans for San Diego’s Lindbergh Field
Big Plans for San Diego's Lindbergh Field
GUESTS:Thella Bowens, president/CEO, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Mark Cafferty, CEO, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation

But if you find your holiday travel experience at of timbers one on at a satisfactory, awkward or congested, know that help is on the way. If you are willing to wait 10 years or so. The San Diego County regional Airport authority has chosen a plan to replace terminal one with a brand-new up-to-date facility. It is part of a comprehensive airport development plan that would will be -- be built a runway in Gatlinburg and all-around makeover. When me today with details is telephones Pres. and CEO of the San Diego international Airport. Bella welcome to program. Mark Cafferty also joins us he is president and CEO of the San Diego regional Corporation. Mark welcome. Thank you. What are some the problems that exist now for travelers who go through terminal one at Lambert? The primary problem is congestion. That terminal is really designed to accommodate a lot of people that go through on a daily basis. The terminal is also designed when air travel is quite different, and it is today so the security checkpoint is tight, and probably does not accommodate as much space as the TSA would like. We do not have enough space in the areas where the passengers congregate, or concessions, or seating. So, it really is a outdated, much too small, terminal facility. Is nearly 50 years old correct? Yes, I think it opened in the late 1960s. Yes, tell us about how different the proposed terminal one would be? Well, the new terminal one would do a lot of things, first of all it would provide space and access cut easy access, both with separation of arrival and departure, as we have in the terminal opened in 2013. That is terminal to West. And in terminal two, it would allow us to connect terminal one with all of the other terminals. Today, if you are in terminal one, in order to get over to to terminal to you have to go outside security. The new plan actually allows us to connect all of those terminals from and internal perspective Eric so the ease of moving from one terminal to the other, would be there. We will be able to add the many amenities that we had in the other terminals into terminal one, and certainly those our primary concerns. It will also revive for easier access for the air carriers, the way we can configure the gate, it would be much easier for air carriers to use the airfield with efficiencies, that makes it easier for us to accommodate the growth that will occur. Now, where will it be located will be a new facility? It will be a new facility. We have determined that it can be built in phases. We would start offer on the old Teledyne drying, and move toward the West. That way we can maintain the gates in terminals one today while we begin to build replacement gates for those. And once the replacement gates are in place, we can tear down, what is terminal one today and build new gates there as well. The whole program would get us to the 61 gates that we need. For that one one-way facility. , Total cost. We estimate to date that the total cost to build out will be between 2.3 and $2.6 billion. And what are you projecting to be the time that this would be completed, and the new terminal would be opened? Today, we are anticipating that we can actually begin to break ground somewhere between 2017 and 2019 with about a three-year buildout for phase 1 of the project. So, we anticipate opening phase 1 in the early 2020. And that and that includes terminal? Includes the first 20 gates of terminal one. And that is based upon the passenger levels that we anticipate at that time. The remaining portions of terminal one, will then be built as a passenger level group. And required that your we have some estimates in the plan as to when that will require, but there are a lot of changes that we know can occur over the period of time that plan addresses is designed and addressed to grow about 2035. And we know those are planning objectives with a great many things that can change within San Diego and the economy. Further buildout is dependent upon passenger level. Markedly bring you into the conversation, let do you see any direct correlation between how terminal one, and what compression business passengers get? I will put it back to terminal to open. Since it has been modernized it is beautiful. The experience has been changed. Folks coming and going. We hear about it all the time, we hear about it quite regularly, whether it is local folks seeing local restaurants and amenities that were different, the efficiency of the experience. If you factor in the great work the airport 30 has done in efforts to bring international routes into San Diego, has allowed us to open both hers. Desk of we see the plan for terminal one to be of the same, and opportunity to expand routes and continue to make the experience for travelers much more efficient and better and continue highlighting aspects that are special about San Diego, which great your parts of going back to. When this entire project is finished, it is supposed to double in Berks capacity, up to 28 million people a year. What economic benefits to see? The planning process is something we respect greatly. Again, the airport authority and the key partners that have been together betting this to the community and bringing them right partners, we realize that every direct route we had, whether domestic or international, opens up huge opportunities for both investment in San Diego, business connectedness to other regions, and also tourism opportunities. Benefits the economy and increasingly as court -- we want to go more global and get more of the world to realize we are here and all the things are special about San Diego. The very first thing that people see is that airport, the last thing when they leave is that airport. Every step that we take it makes us better and we look forward to continuing to support that effort there at none of the faces in the master airport plan call for adding an additional one-way. I guess this has been an argument, or a question forever. How can San Diego have a first-class airport with only one one-way? We were doing a great job with that today. One of the things that we take into account, as we plan for the future. What kind of equipment is going to service San Diego. Over the last several years, aircraft that are coming in an hour San Diego, have moved from a large number of small turboprops that used to fly in and out of the computer terminal to larger crafts, 747, and those aircraft carry more passengers. We are counting on that continuum of gauge of equipment in an ad of San Diego. Efficiencies in how our aircraft operate allows better performance, and so all of those changes in the technology, the aircraft, we think will help to keep San Diego as a number one global city. The key to that is international travel. If you look many years ago, we could not get to San Diego to Asia. Today we are as for the 787, improvements in the engines of the 747. There is tremendous opportunity for San Diego to continue to grow, even with the one runway. And that is our job to continue to make sure that to the extent, possible, we provide. Every facility and opportunity to manage the aircraft to come in and serve San Diego. You are sort of anticipating continued progression of the airline industry and how did these planes are, how many people they can carry a one-time does that also mean that they expanded passenger projection that you have for this particular master plan? And it will not result's in increased airport noise as there will be more and more planes coming in? We think that airport noise has really changed, even since I've been here. They are much quieter aircraft. If you look at the 787 today, is one of the quietest aircraft in the fleet that serves San Diego. So we continue to work with our community, to manage noise issues to the extent possible, how the airport be a good neighbor as it can be. I will back up just a little bit as we will almost double passengers. Today there are 19 million passengers coming through San Diego international Airport. Our projection is that we will be about 28 million at capacity. We will not quite doubled the number, and we think that there will be additional aircraft operations, but we will continue to work with the community to manage those noise issues, as much as possible. We do a lot of things, from quieter home program, to a monitoring system that we have, monitoring aircraft noise, a noise abatement program with the airlines. There are a lot of things that we do. On this topic, I have to ask you there has been a lot of protest, flight proposal that will bring more traffic over point, does the airport authority have any import on what the FAA decides as to changing those air flight paths? Our input is a lot like with the community has. When the FAA had its environmental document out, we actually made comments to that, where we actually asked the FAA to keep in place, normal waypoints that are there today to help keep air traffic contained over certain portions of the portal areas. We submitted those comments on board, continues to encourage us to go out and work with community, even though what's called the Metroplex plan by the if that AA is not our project. Our world is to keep engaged with the FAA, continue to facilitate relationships between the community and the FAA, but we have some of the same concerns about removing those waypoints as the community has appeared and we have made that very clear to the FAA and we will continue to do that along with any further direction from our board. Mark Cafferty, early next month, long-awaited cross-border airport bridge opens up between old-time Mesa and Rica's airport. It will allow passengers to walk across the border, directly into the airport, speeding up border crossing time. Is this also good for San Diego business in your eyes? Yes, think is all good to the point, that I was making Grolier, the thoughtful approach in how we utilize the main airport in the city of San Diego and how we focus on those international flights and the new technologies that allow us to have that are connections, better direct connections that we once had, is already Panko dividends. It is going to be interesting to see if how San Diego is used up cross-border terminal. I think is a wonderful idea, it is something opens up a great opportunity for us, not just because it allows people to cross the border and take flights carpeted made make people think differently about the relationship on both sides of the border, which we embrace as a huge asset. And what our business is in San Diego. As we start to see of what is working down there and was successful, we can begin to plan a little bit on how to utilize the asset, the same way the airport authority has a Scott focused on in the airports within San Diego. Melody do you see this is competition? I do not see it necessarily as competition. It is one airport, San Diego international, have always had a synergistic relationship. People already use the airport for internal destinations, within Mexico. And people, across from Tijuana to use our airport for internal destinations and domestic to the US. So, we do not see that as direct competition, we are not in competition today with any of the international routes. We know that there are always potential for change, but the way those airports, are used today, there is not direct competition. Finally, what was the airport like when you left, is a madhouse? Yes, it is buzzing. We are talking with airlines, they have full loads. We are expecting a lot of people, starting last Friday, has been very busy any advice? , Early, be prepared for longer waits in the security lines. We are very which went right now. We encourage people to come just a little bit early, but as we looked at it today, the security lines are still moving pretty fast. I want to thank my guest, fellow bones, international Airport, Mike, thank you both very much happy Thanksgiving.

Anyone who has fought his or her way through the standing-room only throngs of Southwest Airlines passengers on a Friday evening in San Diego, knows Lindbergh Field's Terminal One is, to be blunt, sorely lacking.

It’s crowded and confusing. Departing and arriving passengers are mixed together in a swirling scrum. The restrooms are in the witness protection program and finding food or a drink is a challenge.

“That terminal was created to accommodate a lot fewer people,” Thella Bowens, president and CEO for the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, told KPBS Midday Edition on Tuesday. “Air travel was quite different than it is today. We don’t have enough space in the areas where passengers congregate.”

All that will change, but it may take a while.

The airport authority board last week voted to approve a $2.2 billion development plan for San Diego International Airport, which includes replacing the 19 gates of Terminal One within 10 years.

“The new Terminal One would do a lot of things,” Bowens said. “First of all, it would provide space and access, and separation of arrival and departure. It would also provide for easier access to the air carriers.”

The development plan is designed to be done in phases as funds become available. The $1 billion first phase will begin after the design and environmental impact reports are prepared and financing is secured.

The ultimate goal is to rebuild the single runway and expand to a total of 61 gates.

Responding to criticism that San Diego can’t have a world-class airport with one runway, Bowens said new technology will alleviate any issues. She said aircrafts that hold more passengers and updated equipment allow the airport to be more efficient.

“All those changes in the technology in the aircraft will really help to keep San Diego a No. 1 global city,” Bowens said.

Mark Cafferty, CEO for the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, an advocacy group for businesses, said the redevelopment of Terminal One will boost the region’s economy.

“Every direct route we add opens up huge opportunity for San Diego,” Cafferty said. “The very first thing people see when they arrive in town is that airport. The very last thing people see is that airport.”

Financing of the large-scale upgrade is currently undetermined. The airport cannot levy a tax, but it does charge passengers and airlines fees, and collects revenue from parking and concessions.