Our Community Strategy

To be a trusted and highly responsive regional agency.


International Routes Yield Regional Benefits

Technology provides connections that help make the world a smaller place. But in this age of the World Wide Web, smartphones and teleconferencing, connectivity is more than electronics.

Some things, you just can't do on a device – like seal a deal with a handshake, grow a business on a worldwide scale, or immerse yourself in another culture.

In today's global economy, there's simply no substitute for being there.

That's why San Diego International Airport in 2016 stepped up its game in the arena of international air service, and now offers nonstop flights to six countries on three continents.

Zurich and Frankfurt will soon join London and Tokyo as SAN's premier overseas routes, while Canada and Mexico also feature prominently on the list of international nonstop destinations.

Our strength in the international air service market has helped the airport become one of the foremost economic drivers in the San Diego region. The annual economic impact of international nonstop flights to San Diego is estimated at $432 million today, and is expected to top $1 billion in the next eight years.

That means developing new international routes is a region-wide effort. SAN works hand-in-glove with the World Trade Center San Diego, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the San Diego Tourism Authority to get the message out about San Diego's attractiveness to international businesses and tourists.

Attracting new international air service is a highly competitive endeavor. Communities have to come together and prove to the airlines that the demand is there for that service.

Case in point: Any airline looking to bring a long-haul flight to San Diego need only look at British Airways, whose San Diego-to-London flight has one of the highest "load factors" (percentage of filled seats) of any other U.S.-to-London British Airways flight in operation today.

In the last quarter-century, the number of international arrivals has increased six-fold. More than 300,000 people arrived here from another country in 2016. That number is expected to grow to 400,000 annually by 2024, and could well exceed 650,000 by 2036.

Based on these numbers, SAN has begun work on an expanded Federal Inspections Services facility to more efficiently process arriving international passengers.

So, where do we go from here?

The newest generation of aircraft is quieter and can fly farther without refueling, meaning SAN's global reach has never been greater.

So we continue to explore opportunities for new services to Europe to complement our British Airways flights. And we are casting an eye toward Central America and South America. Also, there is the rapidly growing market to China.

Some people like to say that "the sky's the limit." But for San Diego International Airport, the sky is just the beginning.

People Arriving from Other Countries


Keeping the Community Informed

In 2016, the Authority hosted 39 public meetings to provide opportunities for community input and feedback. Topics included updates on the Airport Development Plan, Terminal 2 Parking Plaza, Rental Car Center, and airport land use compatibility. Over 6,000 people were also reached through print and online communication pieces.

In addition to keeping the public informed, the Airport Authority is active in the community through its employee volunteer program and partnerships with non-profit organizations. In 2016, staff logged over 350 volunteer hours feeding individuals and families living in St. Vincent De Paul Village, cleaning up litter at Spanish Landing Park, or performing other service-focused projects.

During the holidays, a special program between concessions and the Neil Ash USO at San Diego International Airport raised more than $30,000 from passengers to provide food and water for military men and women traveling home.


Noise from aircraft remains a frequent topic of concern in the community. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and not the Airport Authority, has formal jurisdiction over air space and determines when and where aircraft fly. In 2016, the FAA began implementing its NextGen flight procedure modifications. The Airport Authority communicated concerns about potential noise pattern changes to the FAA during the NextGen review process and is committed to continuing to share any ongoing community concerns about quality-of-life impacts.

Look Ahead

In 2017, the Airport Authority will consider a new organizational strategic plan that outlines goals and priority initiatives over the next five years. This new plan will help to ensure that SAN continues to meet and exceed its customers and community members’ expectations.

A new “Volunteer of the Year Award” will also be launched in order to recognize and reward the Authority employee that accumulates the most community service hours.


A Commitment to Small & Local Businesses

The Airport Authority is committed to ensuring that local, small, historically underutilized, service-disabled veteran, and emerging businesses have every opportunity to do business at SAN.

During fiscal year 2016, approximately $100 million in services and supplies were procured from local businesses. Authority staff also enrolled 10 new small businesses in its Bonding and Contract Financing Assistance Program in 2016 and continued to work to get them certified as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises and Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprises.

Additionally, the Airport Authority partnered with Turner Construction to host the Turner School of Construction Management. The training program's sessions in the spring and fall had over 80 participants graduate.


The Airport Authority helps small and local businesses overcome challenges with responding to change orders, prompt payment by prime contractors and becoming familiar with the Authority's process and policies.

Look Ahead

Over the next couple years, the Airport Authority is looking to implement enhancements to increase small and local business participation, such as providing more one-on-one coaching, identifying new and innovative concession opportunities, and finding ways to “unbundle” large projects. By doing so, it will put small enterprises in an even better position to do business at the San Diego International Airport.


$100 million in services & supplies were procured from local businesses



Promoting Neighborhood Sustainability

The Airport Authority continues to focus on improving the quality of life for neighborhoods surrounding the airport.

The Airport Authority has diligently responded to community noise complaints, addressed aircraft departure curfew violations, and monitored the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) “NextGen” flight procedure modifications, which affect the routes aircraft fly on approach to the airport and immediately after take-off.

In the related data table, it should be noted that the reported increase in people residing in the 65 decibel contour in 2016 is due to the fact that the airport now uses the 2010 census data for its calculations (previous years’ data still use the 2000 census population estimates).


As construction has begun on our new Terminal 2 Parking Plaza, SAN has taken extra measures to attenuate noise impacts on travelers, airport employees, and nearby businesses and hotels.

Look Ahead

Looking ahead to 2017, the Airport Authority will continue to work closely with the FAA and community members to track any changes to noise patterns or levels as NextGen flight procedures continue to be implemented in southern California.


Safety and Environmental Protection are Key Issues

The San Diego International Airport is regulated by a variety of federal, state, and regional agencies. One of the most vital inspections is the Federal Aviation Regulation Part 139 certification that is conducted annually by the Federal Aviation Administration. This inspection helps to ensure that airports meet certain safety standards related to administrative records, aircraft movement areas, firefighting and emergency equipment, fueling facilities, as well as day and night operations. The last annual certification inspection for SAN was completed in June of 2016.

In October, the San Diego Air Pollution Control District (APCD) conducted an unannounced compliance inspection of the airport’s generators. During its inspection, APCD alleged minor violations relating to the operation of two generators exceeding annual permitted operating hours due to mechanical issues. After the inspection, the Airport Authority implemented a new generator-use tracking system.


The Airport Authority continues to provide a Universal Waste Collection Program allowing for an environmentally safe way to dispose of any universal waste (e.g., batteries and waste lamps). The program includes the Airport Authority’s Office Battery Collection Program, which has 12 drops off locations, and two annual airport-wide universal waste collection events for the approximately 8,000 individuals working at SAN.

Look Ahead

SAN must stay up-to-date on multiple, complex regulatory schemes to ensure its ongoing compliance. For environmental regulations, the Airport Authority has developed a robust environmental management system known as “SANtrack” to identify and, if necessary, resolve any potential compliance concerns.

In 2017, the Airport Authority will modify its off-road fleet management practices in anticipation of new California Air Resources Board regulations for large-spark ignition equipment. The Airport Authority will also continue to hold “Sustainability Fairs” to help employees properly dispose of certain waste streams, donate unwanted home goods and clothing, and learn about water and energy conservation.